Christmas at Carnton

Tamera Alexander. Thomas Nelson, $12.99 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-0-310-29324-8
Alexander (To Whisper Her Name) opens her fourth cycle of Civil War novels with a novella set in the Christmas season of 1863. Recently widowed Aletta Prescott is pregnant when she loses her job as a seamstress in a factory in Franklin, Tenn. With foreclosure on her home imminent and a six-year-old son to support, she’s desperate for work, and applies for a job cooking at a Christmas event to be held at Carnton Plantation. She doesn’t get the gig but heads to Carnton anyway. There she crosses paths with Capt. Jake Winston, a wounded Confederate sharpshooter who is ordered to assist at an event the Women’s Relief Society planned at the plantation. The story starts slowly but picks up once Jake and Aletta are introduced and romantic tension develops. Minor characters are more functional than fully realized, with the exception of Carnton’s cook, Tempy, who is given personality and a hint of backstory. (She also provides the occasion for recognition of the evil of slavery, though the reflection is brief.) Alexander doesn’t quite knit it all together, but Aletta and Jake will please Alexander’s fan base. Agent: Natasha Kern, Natasha Kern Agency. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/02/2017
Release date: 10/01/2017
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Library Binding - 500 pages - 978-1-68324-577-3
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