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Celia Garth

Celia Garth - Gwen Bristow It's always interesting to go back and re-read books one read as a child/teen, as is the case with this book. This is the first book where I learned about the Swamp Fox (Frances Marion) and Revolutionary War in the South. I was struck by the fast pace of the book during the siege of Charleston (or Charles Town as one character wrote). The author definitely knew how to keep my interest when describing Tarleton's raids, the hardships of Marion's swamp rats, and the tension of those on plantations and in town who had to wait weeks for word of their loved ones.

While reading most parts of the book, it was difficult to remember that it has a 1959 copyright, more than 50 years ago. However, I was very disturbed by the portrayal of the slaves. Indeed, the words slave and slavery were not mentioned a single time in the entire text. Instead, there were descriptions of servants, maids, Negroes, Colored people, and field hands. Likewise, all the slaves portrayed in the book were well treated and showed love and respect for their owners. I had to keep reminding myself that books are artifacts of their times, but this was a difficult aspect of the narrative to handle.

While I will keep the copy of this book that I own, it won't be placed on my classroom shelves. I believe that there are more current pieces of historical fiction that portray the period in a more nuanced way.