The Mason-Dixon Line clearly delineated the geographical territory between the North and South; but people and their lives are not so easily categorized. In this Civil War novel, the reader meets a Southern judge who has never owned a slave; an Englishman who joins the Confederate Army; a free-spirited Southern belle who often chafes under her social restraints; an Episcopalian rector who is not what he seems; and a free black family who chooses to stay with their employers. The joys, delights, heartbreaks, and trials of life are magnified during times of trouble; and all these are here in Ride the Dappled Mare: A Civil War Romantic Novel, finely penned by Joan Elizabeth Moody Baker.
About The Author:
Joan Elizabeth Moody Baker spent several years researching Civil War history and visiting areas of the Old South in preparation for writing Ride the Dappled Mare. Mrs. Baker is also a poet, playwright, harpist, painter and sculptor. She studied color and design at Ouachita Baptist University; art history and drawing at the Memphis College of Art; and sculpture at the University of Memphis.
She has worked with area churches in planning, writing, and producing programs, and has published many religious monologues. Two of her dramas, “For Such a Time as This” and “Kinsman-Redeemer” have been produced by Hannibal-LaGrange College. A previous potpourri of short stories, poems, and vignettes entitled Glissandos of Love was both written and illustrated by Mrs. Baker.
She and her husband, Charles, live in Collierville, Tennessee.
Where do I begin with this review? I want to be honest with it. I will start with saying that this is both a good book, and a bit stiff. I say stiff, because there were times in this story where it dragged on and on, to me, and I just felt that it didn’t flow perfectly, like a well written Historical novel should. I also enjoyed it, because the characters were vibrantly created, and had complexity to them. The characters were the best part of the story, not the story itself.
Ms. Baker is not a terrible author by any means. You can get lost among the pages as you root for York and Tray to realize their obvious affections for one another. You try to root for Victoria and her dear Colonel Bates who obviously loves her dearly, but she is a bit to stiff at times. I loved Maddy and Paddy’s characters. They weren’t held on the plantation as slaves, but rather as equals who earned their keep by provided help. The accents of them rang true to the reader as the author created the words perfectly for a South Carolinian during the Civil War.
So, in my opinion, this is a 3 Book worthy novel that I would recommend to everyone to try, as they may find that this book is perfectly written for them. I won’t pass up another book by Ms. Baker, like this, should there be another, as not all novels by authors are exactly the same. I really enjoyed the premise behind the plot line, and though stiff and dragging at times, it did hold my attention enough that I made it to the end and was pleasantly surprised by the ending!