Scourged Souls
by Keith N. Corman
ReadersMagnet, LLC

"People were broken, and shaken, and the countryside bore the scars that the families of those lost tried to forget."

The Confederacy wavers in the summer of 1864, but the spirits of its champions thrive, at least in Big Shanty, near Georgia's Kennesaw Mountain. Residents still think they can drive out the Yankees. Conversely, newly enlisted Union soldiers believe it will be easy to rout the Rebels. But in the pitiless heat of June 27, illusions on both sides vanish amid the realities of battle. Too young to fight but anxious to see combat, Will Braunhoff finds himself unable to discuss the death and disfigurement he accidentally discovers on the battlefield. Teenager Nell Wilkerson loses her father, her fiancé, and her desire to live in that single day. Others, however, choose to rebuild over the wounds of war, whether that means remarrying after bereavement or reconstructing a destroyed home or business.

Throughout the novel, Corman uses imagery of wounding, scarring, and incomplete healing. Georgia itself appears as an injured entity, with its landscape lastingly scarred. The book pays homage to the romanticized world of antebellum America through the lead female character's eternal longing for the past as she mourns her dead fiancé. Unusually for a book about the Civil War, this one details the feelings of the soldiers involved, not just their military service or the hardships the two armies suffered. Corman devotes as much of the story to the sentiments of the soldier characters as he gives to those of their loved ones back home. The author broaches another rarely mentioned topic: that of the life experiences of ex-slaves freed before the war. This is a story of many possible responses to unwelcome change, the impact each response has on the life of the one who has it, and the lives of those close to him or her.

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