Varina: A Novel

by Charles Frazier | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0062405985 Global Overview for this book
Registered by k00kaburra of San Jose, California USA on 4/15/2018
Buy from one of these Booksellers: | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT |
4 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by k00kaburra from San Jose, California USA on Sunday, April 15, 2018
Signed by Charles Frazier.

Amazon Editorial Review

Sooner or later, history asks, which side were you on?

In his powerful new novel, Charles Frazier returns to the time and place of Cold Mountain, vividly bringing to life the chaos and devastation of the Civil War

Her marriage prospects limited, teenage Varina Howell agrees to wed the much-older widower Jefferson Davis, with whom she expects the secure life of a Mississippi landowner. Davis instead pursues a career in politics and is eventually appointed president of the Confederacy, placing Varina at the white-hot center of one of the darkest moments in American history—culpable regardless of her intentions.

The Confederacy falling, her marriage in tatters, and the country divided, Varina and her children escape Richmond and travel south on their own, now fugitives with “bounties on their heads, an entire nation in pursuit.”

Intimate in its detailed observations of one woman’s tragic life and epic in its scope and power, Varina is a novel of an American war and its aftermath. Ultimately, the book is a portrait of a woman who comes to realize that complicity carries consequences.

Journal Entry 2 by k00kaburra at San Jose, California USA on Sunday, April 15, 2018
Started listening to an audio version of this book today.

Journal Entry 3 by k00kaburra at San Jose, California USA on Thursday, April 19, 2018
I had to delete the audio files off of my phone because I needed to install an update. Didn't get very far - maybe ten minutes in? I'll try to read this again later.

Journal Entry 4 by k00kaburra at San Jose, California USA on Sunday, April 22, 2018
Resumed listening to the audio book yesterday.

Journal Entry 5 by k00kaburra at San Jose, California USA on Sunday, May 20, 2018
Finished last night.

Charles Frazier is a slow storyteller. He likes to build his world, layer after layer, until it's rich and complex. This is great for a character study like Varina, where her personality is slowly built up and the reader comes to understand exactly how she became the woman she is at the end of her life.

But if I'm being honest, it really kills the tension in the high stakes moments. There's no urgency in the Davis family's flight to Florida, even as the Confederacy falls around them.

One of the things I liked in the book was the exploration of owner-slave relationships. Varina, or V as she is usually called in the book, witnesses Jefferson Davis' close relationship to his slave Pemberton, noting at times they almost seem like family, but never able to erase that final line between them. Later, she admits that she thought of one of her former slaves as a friend, and is hurt that the slave doesn't reciprocate. James finds it interesting that she can perceive the disconnect in her husband's life but not in her own. He also asks her multiple times if she adopted him, a black boy, as a "pet", and she never really answers that to his satisfaction because I think she doesn't really know.

You also see slaves who stay with their masters because they have nowhere else to go, or because they nursed their masters as babies and just can't leave them to fend for themselves.

I appreciated the chance to learn more about the wife of Jefferson Davis. She was an interesting women, often progressive in her thoughts, and educated. She was often a tragic figure, with a marriage that seemed loveless, children who died too young and too often, and trapped in the shadow of her husband and his role as a failed revolutionary. One can't help but wonder what she would have been like if married to another man, or born at a different time when she could have used more of her gifts in a public role.

Released 2 yrs ago (7/18/2018 UTC) at Media Mail in Fellow Bookcrosser, A Book Relay -- Controlled Releases


sent to a bookcrosser as part of a book box!

Journal Entry 7 by wingbooklady331wing at Cape Coral, Florida USA on Saturday, August 18, 2018
The book arrived today. Thank you for sending it to me.

Journal Entry 8 by wingbooklady331wing at Cape Coral, Florida USA on Wednesday, July 03, 2019
I rally enjoyed Cold Mountain and I loved Thirteen Moons, but just wanted to rush through this book. Now to find a new reader.

Journal Entry 9 by RNAi at Fairmont, West Virginia USA on Thursday, August 15, 2019
This was in a RABCK from the kind booklady331 along with Ballpoint. I am excited to read these after my finals!!

Journal Entry 10 by RNAi at True Blue, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- Grenada on Monday, October 21, 2019
My SO brought me the book which was sent to me at our home in WV. I study in Grenada, which is where I am going to leave this book when I am done.

Journal Entry 11 by RNAi at Holiday Gift Giving, Holiday Gift Giving -- Controlled Releases on Saturday, November 16, 2019

Released 1 yr ago (11/15/2019 UTC) at Holiday Gift Giving, Holiday Gift Giving -- Controlled Releases


This is going to BookLovinMama as an HGG present along with some other things I think she will like. I really hope she enjoys it! It was an interesting read.

Journal Entry 12 by BookLovinMama at Arnold, Missouri USA on Sunday, February 02, 2020
Thank you RNAi for the very thoughtful HGG book! I have it marked to take with me on my next trip so that I can easily read it while I travel.

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