As the author of YA novels, I will present a weekly review of a book I thought was exciting, thrilling, and yes, even titillating.
Though there are a plethora of books on the market about the Civil War, Anni’s Attic, by Anne Loader McGee is one of the best. Written in the first person perspective about life on a Georgia plantation from 1861-1865, it shows the day-to-day experiences of Jennine Parkington and her cousin Annise Bouvoir.
Jenn is an 11-year-old southern belle who recently lost her mother. In October 1861 her dad, Phillip Parkington, a Northern sympathizer, moves Jenn from their New Orleans home to live with his sister near Savannah, Georgia. Phillip then leaves to fight for President Lincoln. Meanwhile, Jenn must live with her “ill-mannered” 12-year-old cousin, Annise Bouvoir, “who could not even speak French like a proper lady.”
When Jenn’s carriage pulled up in front of White Magnolias on that late October 1861 day angry eyes watched her from a secret attic tucked away inside the plantation home. Anni wasn’t very happy about having to play hostess to her know-it-all snobby first cousin.
Anne McGee’s historical novel, Anni’s Attic, provides a heart-wrenching look at the atrocities of the Civil War and its affects on the lives of the people living in the Savannah countryside. The YA book is a marvelous character study of Anni and Jenn.
During the course of the war the cousins encounter spies, racial hatred, the Underground Railroad, and Sherman's March to the Sea. Through it all they take time alone together in the confines of a secret attic in White Magnolias. There the cousins develop trust as they mature and learn to love and respect each other. Anni's Attic is a novel all secondary school students must read to advance their understanding of the Civil War era.