In his powerful fourth novel, Charles Frazier returns to the time and place of Cold Mountain, vividly bringing to life the chaos and devastation of the Civil War. With her marriage prospects limited, teenage Varina Howell agrees to wed the much-older widower Jefferson Davis, with whom she expects a life of security as a Mississippi landowner. He instead pursues a career in politics and is eventually appointed president of the Confederacy, placing Varina at the white-hot center of one of the darkest moments in American history-culpable regardless of her intentions. The Confederacy falling, her marriage in tatters, and the country divided, Varina and her children escape Richmond and travel south on their own, now fugitives with "bounties on their heads, an entire nation in pursuit." Intimate in its detailed observations of one woman's tragic life and epic in its scope and power, Varina is a novel of an American war and its aftermath. Ultimately, the audiobook is a portrait of a woman who comes to realize that complicity carries consequences.
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"In a soft Southern accent, Molly Parker narrates Frazier's recent novel about the life and times of Varina, wife of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Varina describes her life and times in a nonlinear manner, from the 1840s through the early 1900s, through flashbacks and memories. The dialogue flows into the narrative without shifts in tone or accent, making it difficult to differentiate between the two. Shunning false drama, Parker's narration drifts along the days, months, and years of Varina's life on the plantation until her harrowing escape to Florida after the war and then her new life in New York City. Varina's high-strung temperament is cushioned by regular indulgence in laudanum, capably captured in Parker's cadence. M.B.K. © AudioFile 2018, Portland, Maine"
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