Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines by Beverly Stowe McClure

Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines by Beverly Stowe McClure is a fascinating story for teens that will bring them up close to the American Civil War and the seige of Vicksburg, Mississippi.

The year is 1863. Young Elizabeth (Lizzie) Stamford is fourteen years old, but has already lived a lifetime of troubles. Vicksburg is under siege by the Union Army. Shells fly overhead, damaging their beautiful home. The family is forced, like many in Vicksburg, to seek shelter in a nearby cave.  Lizzie’s mother has some of their belongings brought down to the cave, but no matter how many things from the house are placed inside, for Lizzie, it’s still ony a cave.

Lizzie’s father tends to the wounded at the hospital, while her brothers Willie and Joseph fight for the Confederacy on the front lines. Lizzie’s heart aches with worry over her brothers, being kept from her home, and rarely seeing her father.

Torn between living the life of a proper young lady during a time where nothing seems proper anymore, and her need to do her part, Lizzie disguises herself as a boy and decides to enlist in the Confederate Army. She quickly discovers the horrors of war. An encounter with a Yankee soldier places everything she knows about the North and the South in jeopardy. Is it possible the Yankees and the Rebels have more in common than she thinks?

Every time I read a book by Beverly Stowe McClure, I am astounded by how much better her newest book is than the last. All of her books for teens that I’ve read have strong female leads, but the addition of her younger brother, Nat, in this book will also allow it to appeal to young men. While Rebel in Blue Jeans and Just Breeze were contemporary stories, with Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines, McClure shows she can write an excellent historical. I absolutely loved this book!

Having studied the American Civil War for many years now, I can say without a doubt that McClure did her research and used it well.  I felt I was right in the middle of Vicksburg alongside Lizzie. In an age where we teach our children so much about tolerance and acceptance of others, this book could be helpful in relaying that message. Students studying the Civil War would also get a great deal out of reading Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines, as it would open up room for discussion on a variety of topics surrounding this period of American history.

Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines is a thought-provoking, emotion-filled read. While targeted for young adults, don’t be surprised if a parent ends up enjoying this one as well. Readers who appreciate strong female characters, those with an interest in American history, and anyone who likes books you just can’t put down, will want to pick up a copy of this one.

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher:  Twilight Times Books
  • ISBN:  1-60619-112-8
  • SRP:  $14.95

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20 thoughts on “Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines by Beverly Stowe McClure

    • Mmm. Interesting thought. I do know that they had no physicals then to get into the military so girls could sign up pretty easily. I have a book with pictures of some, but it doesn’t mention that. Must check on it.

  1. Beverly, kudos on this book! I bet it will be a complete winner, and Cheryl’s review is outstanding!

  2. Thank you for the awesome review, Cheryl. You made my day when I read it. 🙂 I’m so glad you like the book, especially since you’re a Civil War buff. Yes, I did a lot of research, starting with visiting Vicksburg where the idea for the story was born.

    It’s available at Barnes and Noble for preorder at a discount until June 15. or at Twilight Times Books.

  3. Thanks for lending Beverly your support everyone. I’m glad you liked the review. It’s an excellent book, and it wouldn’t suprise me if adults enjoyed it just as much as younger people.

    To address the issue of how the identity of women was not revealed, I read a book titled, An Uncommon Soldier: The Civil War Letters of Sarah Rosetta Wakeman, who served under the name of Lyons Wakeman. She died as a private in the Union Army.

    As Beverly mentioned, there was barely any physical exam. If you could shoot a gun, you were in. Since they were outside most of the time, women could go off to sites unseen to do their duty.

    One thing I never thought much about, but which the book mentions, is that the clothing people wore was used to identify the gender of a person much more than physical characteristics; so if you wore a dress they figured you were a woman. If you wore pants, you were a guy. Male soldiers seemed to be a bit naive about the more feminine characteristics of their fellow soldiers, though women usually were able to identify other women in the ranks.

    The young age of many of the soldiers also helped hide women’s identity because some soliders hadn’t even begun to shave yet.

    I hope you find this information helpful.

    Thanks again for your wonderful comments.

  4. Bverly,
    Congratulations. It sounds like a great read.
    J. Aday Kennedy
    The Differently-Abled Writer
    Children’s picture Book Klutzy Kantor
    Coming Soon Marta Gargantuan Wings

    • Francis, I so enjoyed visiting with you and Milta. You always have so much good informaiton. Thank you for your support, cousins. You’re the best.


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