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A Light in the Storm: The Civil War Diary of…
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I don't remember much of these books as individual books, but I remember reading them all as a young, avid reader. I think that ultimately these books are the reason why I love historical fiction novels so much. They all did such a great job of taking me to a different time and place and making it come alive, seeing the world through an older, historical lens. I highly recommend any of the Dear America books to younger readers who love history and need to get hooked on reading! ( )
  justagirlwithabook | Jul 31, 2018 |
Seventeen year old Amelia is the only child of the assistant lighthouse keeper and his wife. He tends the Fenwick lighthouse in 1861, just as the Civil War breaks out. Delaware is a "border state", so tensions run high even within families. Her father is an abolitionist, something that her mother cannot abide by, causing her parents to divorce. And one of her childhood friends goes off to fight the war. She's left behind with a broken family...tending the light of the lighthouse. ( )
  nancynova | Aug 16, 2014 |
I found this book to be very eye-catching. It is interesting to be reading a book from the perspective of a light keepers daughter. I really saw the lighthouse and I felt like I was in the character's world as I read. I enjoyed this book; a light in the storm because it was very descriptive and really made me feel like I was talking with the charecter ( )
  Scuttle2003 | Oct 31, 2013 |
This entire series is a wonderful way to learn history or teach it to adolescents. I find today's generations seem to recall more when they learn through other people (pop songs, celebrity gossip, etc.), so what better way to teach history than through someone else's perspective? Yes, "authentic" diaries would be "better", but would the language really hold the modern student's attention? Did the diary writer know what WOULD be important in the context of history? Probably not. ( )
  benuathanasia | Sep 5, 2012 |
***SPOILER ALERT: This review will contain spoilers.*** Amelia Martin is the 15-year-old daughter of the assistant lighthouse keeper off the coast of Delaware as this diary begins in late 1860 and continues through 1861. She turns 16 in the book She keeps the first watch at the lighthouse.Delaware is a border state in the issue over slavery. Much of the Southern part of the state is aligned with the South, while the north tends to be more aligned with the Union. A group of runaway slaves makes Amelia realize the magnitude of the differences in her parents. Her mother believes the slaves should be sent back to their owners. Her father believes they should be helped to freedom. While Amelia has agreed with her mother in the past, something about her encounter with them makes her realize that her father is correct. It isn't long before South Carolina secedes from the Union--something that Amelia considers completely unacceptable. Other Southern States follow South Carolina's lead gradually. The tension at home begins to mount. Her mother becomes more withdrawn over time and has physical and medical problems. Her mother eventually moves in with Amelia's ailing grandmother. Her father serves divorce papers on her mother. I really enjoyed this look at the tensions in a divided community due to the war. In several places, Amelia referred to what was happening in Tennessee to Union supporters during this time. Since I live a section of Tennessee that had strong Union sympathies, these mentions were interesting. However, there was some unevenness to the writing. I felt that the author used a 20th century solution to the marriage problem. Divorce was not as commonplace in the 19th century as it is in 21st century America, and while it was not unheard of, they were more difficult to obtain. I felt the author made it too easy, even in the strained relations due to ideologies. I also felt that the diary ended rather abruptly and that its conclusion was in an awkward place and that it should have continued until one of the major events in 1862. I also felt that the Epilogue wrapped things up a little too tidily and left little room for the reader's imagination of what the future might have been for those persons mentioned in the diary. It's a good, but not a great, work of fiction. ( )
  thornton37814 | Oct 7, 2011 |
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I rowed across the Ditch this morning. Wish there were some other way to reach the mainland.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0590567330, Hardcover)

This engaging addition to the successful Dear America series follows the adventures of Amelia Martin, a lighthouse keeper's daughter living on an island off the coast of Delaware in 1861. Amelia helps her father keep the light and her mother keep the house, but she cannot keep their marriage together. Newbery Medal recipient Karen Hesse (Out of the Dust) cleverly personifies the conflict between North and South, abolitionist and secessionist, Union and Confederacy in the troubled marriage of Amelia's parents. Amelia watches, powerless, as the relationship disintegrates: "I feel as if I am the Light in my family. I must keep my hope burning, so that Father and Mother, even in the darkness that seems to engulf them, might find their way back."

The broken marriage provides a powerful example of the way the Civil War tore apart families and friendships. Girls will thrill to Amelia's descriptions of her tomboyish responsibilities as lighthouse keeper and family breadwinner, her burgeoning love affair with a local boy, and her friendship with her abolitionist uncle. While some of the language and details seem anachronistic, Hesse has crafted a remarkably elegant tale of "girl as emotional beacon," tirelessly watching as her world crashes on the shoals. (Ages 9 and older) --Claire Dederer

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:23 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

In 1860 and 1861, while working in her father's lighthouse on an island off the coast of Delaware, fifteen-year-old Amelia records in her diary how the Civil War is beginning to devastate her divided state.

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