Washington, D.C. author S. Elizabeth Calvert comes to this novel with personal history that relates to the subject matter of her book: her family history includes soldiers who fought in the Civil War on both sides – Confederate and Yankee, or South and North – and her memories have haunted her as she is a psychic and clairvoyant and sensitive to the past. ‘In her own way she has given voice to the voiceless and justice to the misunderstood’ and has created an impressive debut novel.
How often have psychics/clairvoyants use their powers to write a novel based on their experiences with the past?
Elizabeth draws on her gift to revisit the past through time travel and the result is a mesmerizing recreation of the Civil War era as well as a richly textured romance. Marrying the present with the past is not an easy task but she manages this journey well, as the opening of her novel purports: ‘The Confederate ghost was dying. And she must try to save him. She was scared…very, very scared. What if she failed him again/ He was her darling sweetheart, her true soulmate, her everything. Driving the final miles from Washington, D.C. to Calvary Manor, her newly inherited Civil War era house in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Maureen knew her life was changing and for the first time in years she embraced it. She was ready for anything, especially the romantic, troubled spirit-soldier caught in time anxiously awaiting her at Calvary Manor.’ With that launch the novel opens as an epic time travel romance.
The plot is well distilled in her synopsis: ‘Maureen McAlister flees a contemporary, shattered life into the ghostly, loving arms of Confederate soldier Major Clayton Fontaine Douglas, her former husband and one-true-soulmate. He is the only man she loves and trusts. Clayton, an unrepentant Rebel and proud, brave officer in General Robert E Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, is now a ghost stuck in time in her inherited Gettysburg, Pennsylvania estate. He is furious at God for the loss of his Country and her. He is dying again because of her. Once more she must try to save him, change his fate and rewrite karma. How? Time travel to 1863, persuade him to avoid Pickett’s Charge during the Battle of Gettysburg, prevent his untimely death at the hands of his personal, implacable enemy and live with him again at Wildrose Hill, their beautiful home near Shepherdstown, West Virginia. It is a second chance for Maureen and Clayton, another test of their true, eternal, soulmate love. Fail and he is doomed. Succeed and they are together forever. She is beyond scared. What if she fails him...again?’
The novel is lengthy but reads rapidly and manages to transport the reader to a time long past and a fresh look at the history of this country. Grady Harp, March 19
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