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Book Review | The Gates of Trevalyan by Jacquelyn Cook

December 26, 2008

gatesoftrevalyanjpgThe Gates Of Trevalyan
Web site for Jacquelyn Cook
BelleBooks, Inc.; September ’08
352 pages
Historical fiction
Book provided by Librarything Early Reviewers program
Book #123/08

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From Amazon: Family. Faith. Love. War. The Gates of Trevalyan brings the turbulent years before, during and after the Civil War to vivid and passionate life. Trevalyan, the beautiful central-Georgia plantation where idealistic young Jenny Mobley and aristocratic Charles King marry and build a life together, becomes a symbol of the heartache and division brought by the nation’s bitter wounds.

Author Jacquelyn Cook weaves the King family’s story into a tapestry featuring the most compelling figures of the time–from charismatic statesman Alexander Stephens and his doomed love for Elizabeth Craig to Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis and many others. Richly detailed and intensely researched, THE GATES OF TREVALYAN breathes the spirit of great storytelling into a fascinating historical era.

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Having just finished reading Sunrise by Ms. Cook I thought I knew what to expect. Whereas Sunrise is very much a family saga based, as it is, around the marriage of Anne Tracy and William Johnston, their family and friends The Gates of Trevalyan is centered much more on the political dealings of the civil war. The characters of Jenny Mobley and Charles King and their plantation house, Trevalyan, are fictional. Their story provides the backbone around which Ms. Cook weaves the history of the civil war. It provides a glimpse into the daily lives of those effected by this war but at times it tends to get too lost among the more prominent players of the day.

I felt this was really story of power and conflict. The personal and professional struggles among such historical figures such as Alexander Stephens, Robert Toombs and Joshua Hill, along with Confederate States of America President Jefferson Davis and U.S. President Abraham Lincoln. Military figures such as General William Tecumseh Sherman, Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee. This book is rich in the historical details and political strategies that molded these united states. You live the day-to-day strife that tore a nation apart at the seams. That divided, and shattered, families along deep seeded beliefs and political lines. Yet through it all we were strong enough to come back together.

The character I most loved in this book was Alexander Stephens. I didn’t realize what an extraordinary life he lived and lead. While he was never to find true love within a marriage his accomplishments are many and varied. He is to be admired and respected for his love of country, whether or not your agree with his politics.

While I enjoyed Sunrise for the family story I enjoyed The Gates of Trevalyan for the history.

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