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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Rebel in Blue Jeans by Beverly Stowe McClure

RebelinBlueJeans_cover1_webRebel’s life is in turmoil. Her mother ran off with a drummer, leaving her father distraught and distracted; her friend Will seems to be wanting more than just friendship, and an older guy has taken a sudden interest in her. What should she do?

Young adult readers, especially those who love animals will find many things to appreciate in Rebel in Blue Jeans by Beverly Stowe McClure.

When Rebel’s mother decides to take off with Bo, a drummer in a rock band, Rebel feels unwanted and alone. What is so exciting about city life anyway? Rebel trudges through the days on the ranch with the help of her best friends, Will and Sully, and spends a great deal of time talking with her animals to help relieve her frustrations. And while she’s not sure exactly how she feels about Rick, she’s caught off guard when Will seems to be wanting more than friendship from her.

When her mother calls and wants Rebel to come visit Bo and her for the summer, Rebel is determined to hate him and convince her mother to come back home. Can Rebel bring her family back together? And if she can ever believe in love again, is it Will or Rick who will capture her heart?

This is a quick and easy read, but it’s certainly not short on conflict. McClure has woven together an interesting plot and a strong and complex heroine to create a story that will be enjoyed by young adults everywhere.

Tackling the difficult subjects of separation and divorce, the desire young people have to see their parents reunited, making decisions regarding boys and finding your way in an uncertain world, Rebel in Blue Jeans provides readers with a heroine they will love for her spunk and get frustrated with over her stubbornness.

Rebel in Blue Jeans is an inspiring and entertaining read that would make a great gift for your teen reader…whether she’s a rebel or not.

 

Rating:   🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher: Twilight Times Books; First edition
  • ISBN-10: 193335349X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933353494
  • SRP:  $14.95