This is an emotional evolution, beginning with exploration of the mindsets of peaceful but somewhat conflicted young men (boys really), parents, and a longing maiden. We are entranced by peaceful engagement with mountains, farms and societies, church gatherings, and stable business dealings. Families are rendered believable and endearing. Some youngsters are just on the verge of moving off to war; a couple are children too young to engage, but old enough to witness significantly.
In both Georgia and Indiana, there is apprehension about the ongoing civil war. However, no one actually expects that conflict to imperil their own communities.
Sons leaving to enlist, a fiancé becoming a lieutenant, and a father becoming a colonel disabuse their families of their lack of engagement. Somewhat obscured by distance and cultural admiration of the warrior path, nonetheless the sense of possible loss is credibly and ably grown.
Burgeoning conflict and divorcement from home life is ably shown rather than told, though details are glossed over in favor of introspection and emotion. Excellent writing tactics emerge: panic buying disrupting a general store’s usually serene environment; the advent of wagonloads of slaves to build confederate defenses as seen through the eyes of a freed slave. Admirable observation by boys watching their lifelong mountain retreat/hunting land becoming a fortified waste of trampled and nearly riverine mud with insects, stifling heat, and rain being endured by troops pushed to the limits of endurance. Also some explication of motives through authorially narrated in-the-head musings and the employment of ‘letters.’
The changes in formerly happy communities as loved ones leave and are long missed, as a sense of approaching real danger to those loved ones grows, are all written well.
Those promising and insightful aspects of Scourged Souls kept me reading and gripped by what-happens next, despite some tedious flaws in this rendition of the work. There is an all-too-obvious lack of basic proofing and simple editing. My read was significantly slowed by errant tenses, some awkward sentence structure, lack of and misuse of possessives (some excusable as possible attempts to make letters from incompletely literate fellows believable), bad comma placement, lack of paragraphing, typos, and word substitutions that may possibly be blamed on auto correct of some sort. Why else would “colonial” be substituted repeatedly for “colonel”? As this is an e-book, I sincerely hope that the version I received for review is simply pre-proof. If not, I hope that the author or publisher engages a good proofreader soon!
The denouement of long lead-ups to conflict is terrifying and graphic. And the soul-scarring aftermath of war is searingly well rendered. Despite the technical problems, I am enriched by this reading.
|Author||Keith Niles Corman|
|Page Count||126 pages|
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