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Belle in the Slouch Hat: Mimi Mathis by Mimi…
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Belle in the Slouch Hat: Mimi Mathis

by Mimi Mathis

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Belle in the Slouch Hat
BY: Mimi Mathis
PUBLISHED BY: Phoenix International Inc.
PUBLISHED IN: 2010
ISBN: 978-0-9824295-1-8
Pages: 217
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

Before going off to join the Missouri Irregular Cavalry during the Civil War, Joshua “Bud” Brayden gave his younger sister, Belle, his slouch hat. Shortly after, a Union solider named Stryker shoots Bud in the back.

Belle is heartbroken by Bud’s death. She is determined to go after the man that killed him. Her brother once told her that Quantrill and his men sometimes hide out at a woman’s farm. She rides off to meet Maude Madison.
Maude takes in wounded soldiers and tries to help them. She also takes in some of the Quantrill raiders. Belle is wants to meet William Quantrill, and she eventually does. She also meets William “Bloody Bill” Anderson, Frank James, Jesse James and the Younger brothers.

I am from Missouri, and live close to where “Bloody Bill” Anderson is buried. It was pleasure reading about Belle’s quest for justice. Belle’s cousin Winnie adds a nice touch to the story. The author has done a marvelous job blending fiction, supernatural and historical figures into an adventurous story. This is necessary read! ( )
  billyburgess | Sep 3, 2010 |
Her brother Bud’s death, during the Civil War, left Belle Brayden, a fifteen year old girl, grieving. Finding her brother’s slouch hat and then putting it on gave her the courage to go on. Her new adventure takes her to a friend of her brothers, which he had talked about all the time. Maude helped some of the Confederate soldiers, especially those in Quantrill’s group, which Bud had been a part of. After watching her beloved horse shot and killed, then almost drowning herself, she could have given up. Locating the strength to go on was not enough for Belle though. Some how, some way she needed to help. She needed to seek the man responsible for her brothers death, she needed to warn other towns and other people of the approaching army and she needed to heal her heart. During the Civil War these should be difficult tasks, but through Belle’s perseverance she is able to accomplish quite a lot, quite quickly. When she is given information about a raid on a nearby town, she quickly realizes that her cousin Winnie and Uncle Richard live there and she wastes no time in riding to their aide.

A touching story about loss and the determination to not only survive, but to help others to survive also. A look at anther aspect to the tragic losses in war time - from a sister’s point of view. The courage of the character of Belle is inspirational in it’s honest way of dealing with the losses in her life. Maude has a mix of Native American’s and white man’s spiritual ways of encouraging while letting Belle do things and figure things out for herself. Belle shows grace and compassion, yet she still stumbles up the steps and suffers with confusion but never indecision. Just the right mix of spunk and spirit leads Belle into many adventures and many dangerous situation, but belief in herself and her brothers horse seemed to always help her through it. The book does move a bit slow and the way the narration and dialogue seemed to repeat each other was little annoying at times, but still a very good way to open up the topic of the Civil War with a younger generation. ( )
  onyx95 | Jun 7, 2010 |
The story begins in 1862, with Belle, a 15 year old young woman who has idolized and patterned her life after Bud: her hero, her friend and her brother. Though they all know the wages of war, it still came as a surprise when they discovered shortly after Bud left to rejoin his group, that he was shot in the back and killed.

With a spirit that belies her size and somewhat innocent appearance, Belle is bound and determined to find the scoundrel who killed her brother. Though her parents are against her getting involved in the war, they let her go to discover what she may and help the troops with intelligence.

The Civil War also known as the War between the north and the south is deep within it's hold and fight for rights. The war effects many as is to be expected and many live in fear every day that they will be the next town or person killed in this bloody senseless war fought a great deal by children. Bud was more than a mere Confederate soldier, he member of a group of tough Confederate Guerrillas, who were in charge of keeping the lines of communication open. He always wore a slouch hat, something Belle appropriates for her own as she begins her own personal fight to find the man who killed her brother,

At this time, Belle finds a special friend in Maude, who acts not just as a friend but as her spiritual mentor as well. Into her life comes a horse with “magical powers“, the self same horse that Bud once rode and her “best-friend-cousin,” sixteen-year-old Winnie Brayden. It seems when Winnie was seven years old she lost her eyesight, but though she cannot see, she has an amazing ability to “see with her heart.” Her compassion and humor is a positive influence in Belle’s life and keeps her on task and facing the future with hope and compassion.

As Belle discovers the name of the man who killed not only her brother but Maude's husband too, she is more determined to stop this man at all costs. There is but one twist, Belle doesn't know that he is out to kill her and put a stop to the Confederate Guerrillas. But Belle will have nothing less than revenge for the death of her brother and so many like him.

As the book ends, it is best left to the reader to discover how Belle and her advisory meet, interact and how the book finally ends. It is a book that teaches not only history but compassion, dedication and strength of character. It is a book that without a doubt will leave the young reader wondering what lies around the corner for Belle. Read it and see what is there for Belle and her friends. I believe you will find the ending satisfying and somewhat empowering as it dawns on the reader that a mere 15 year old young woman can show her love and dedication to such a cause without faltering or losing her focus of the world around her. ( )
  Susan_Pettrone | May 24, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0982429517, Paperback)

When fifteen-year-old Belle Brayden started wearing her brother's slouch hat her life changed! She

began having more adventures, misadventures, and tragedies. Some are brought on by her impulsiveness,

others by nature, but most are from the cruelties of war. The year is 1862 and the United

States of America is at war with itself. Belle's eighteen-year-old brother, Bud, a member of a group

of tough Confederate Guerrillas, was shot in the back and killed. In her quest to find the one who

killed her brother, Belle joins forces with a spiritual mentor, a horse with magical powers, and her

"best-friend cousin," sixteen-year-old Winnie. The exciting adventures and engaging personalities

of Belle and Winnie make this work of fiction soar above its serious time and keep the reader

entertained. The spiritual messages found throughout the story give this book a special touch.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:36 -0400)

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