The TWISTED CROWN
by Anita Richmond Bunkley
“…a well-turned piece of historical fiction that seamlessly weaves together real events that happened during the Civil War and the Reconstruction years. … flesh-and-blood characters, and heart-wrenching accounts of the trials during that dark period in America’s past.” AuthorsReading.com
Reviewed by Publishers Weekly on 02/07/2020:
Bunkley’s inspired latest (after Black Gold) imagines a fruitful interracial partnership amid the chaos of racist violence and injustice in reconstruction-era Charleston, S.C. In 1846, four-year-old Eva is sent by her enslaved mother from a South Carolina plantation to live with an aunt in Boston. Just before war breaks out, Eva marries Chester, an escaped slave, who volunteers to join the Union Army as soon as black men are allowed to enlist. Chester is killed, and after the war Eva sets off on a quest to find her mother. Along the way, she meets a Northern white lawyer named Trent Hartwell, who wants to help rebuild the South but is met with resistance from die-hard rebels. Together, Eva and Trent work with the thinly stretched Freedman’s Bureau to advocate for the freedom and justice that were promised after the Union victory, despite a series of threats from powerful, lawless Charleston men and the dangers of being seen together, especially as their friendship deepens. Bunkley’s wrenching descriptions of racist attitudes and violence, along with her meticulous attention to historical and regional details, lay bare the steep uphill battle of her characters’ incremental progress. This is a convincing portrait of the racist and classist divisions that persisted after the Civil War. Rinard Publishing, $12.95 (412p) ISBN 978-0-9624012-4-4
“…a fascinating look into the post-Civil War South” Literary Titan
Praise for The Twisted Crown
“Replete with thought-provoking insights about courage, choice, heritage and love, The Twisted Crown is a portrait in changing attitudes and lives, racial prejudice and tolerance, and the selfishness and altruism that divide or connect people.” Midwest Book Review
“... a layered exploration of family, loss, and love that deftly interweaves the socioeconomic, political, and racial tensions in Northern and Southern states during and after the Civil War.” The BookLife Prize.
“A gripping historical novel.” BookBub
“What begins as an innocent quest turns into a saga of survival with epic characters along the way. … a rich and fulfilling story with unpredictable plot twists and huge literary payoffs.”
Norma L. Jarrett,Bestselling Author
“…a hidden nugget of African American history with a level of non-fiction seldom seen since Roots, by Alex Haley. Readers find themselves immersed in the lives and actions of the characters, following the emotional journey through every page.” C. A. “Tony” Sherman, Author/Artist
“…an intriguing and enlightening story of a black woman’s remarkable journey during a pivotal time in America’s history. A well told story. " Everett Prewitt, Award-winning Author https://eprewitt.com
“…a deftly crafted, intriguing tale of the waning years of the post-Civil War Reconstruction Era. A strong cocktail of sweet entertainment with a double shot of American history that is sure to leave any reader happy to pay the tab! I highly recommend this read!
Monica "mOe" Anderson, DDS, www.drmoeanderson.com
This new historical novel takes readers from the bustling streets of Boston at the height of the Abolitionist movement to the war-ravaged landscape of Reconstruction-era South Carolina.
Eva Phillips, a woman of spirit and fire who was born in slavery, but lived as free, undertakes a remarkable journey into the unfamiliar, complicated, and dangerous landscape of 1867 South Carolina to search for the mother who gave her away.
The turbulent events, both joyous and tragic, that await Eva provide her with the strength and purpose required to fulfill her unrelenting quest.
The TWISTED CROWN, is rich in authentic historical details, alive with unforgettable characters, and brilliantly brings a vanished period of African American history to life again.
The novel explores the post-Civil War era of American Reconstruction from the black female point of view, providing a unique perspective on a period of American history that is often overlooked, and rarely featured, in black literary fiction. The story was inspired by the life of the author’s great-grandfather, a white Northerner who came to South Carolina after the Civil War, married a woman of color, and eventually served as a state senator in South Carolina during Reconstruction.
Book Club DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
1. What characteristics initially draw Eva and Chester together? How do these characteristics serve them as their story unfolds?
2. How do you describe Eva’s reaction to her young husband’s desire to fight for the Union? How does this affect her decision to return to the South?
3. Would you consider Tully a selfish woman? Why? Why not?
4. Eva is obsessed with finding her mother. Was this obsession harmful or helpful while she was growing up?
5. Why do you think Trent was so racially tolerant? In what ways does his attitude serve him/ harm him when he goes to South Carolina?
6. How does the political atmosphere in South Carolina reflect the changes in the cultural post-war landscape?
7. Why do you think Leon’s attitude about life after returning from war is so different from his father’s? How does it compare to his sister’s?
8. Do you think it will be possible for Eva and Trent to maintain a friendship over a long period of time? If so, how?
9. Do you think the establishment of the Freedman’s Bureau in the southern states was a valid concept? If so, what could have been done to prevent it from failing?
10. Land ownership was very important after the Civil War. Why do you believe so many black families lost land they once owned?
firstname.lastname@example.org Publisher: Rinard Publishing
Genre: Historical Fiction
Trade Paperback Edition
Library of Congress CN: 201900339
Also available as eBook: $9.99