Emily Hill’s first novel, Jenkins: Confederate Blockade Runner, published by A.V. Harrison Publishing and released February 6, 2011, was sparked by a family Civil War album left to her by her Aunt Cordelia. She spent 15 years researching her family’s genealogy and then another two years penning the story of C.T. Jenkins.
Colonel C.T. Jenkins was Ms. Hill’s long lost uncle and a prolific writer. He left journal entries and letters to fuel Emily’s curiosity leading her to write the story of her Uncle Cyprian. He was born into a prominent Baltimore family in 1811 and, defying the wishes of his father to join in the family enterprises, left home after the Leonid meteor showers of 1833 to follow his own dreams of independence becoming an Indian scout, property owner, legislator, Civil War hero, prisoner of war, family man.
The author claims the story almost told itself but she’s being modest. Through the details and nuances of 19th century society, daily life and relationships you can detect the skills of an innate storyteller.
At midlife Jenkins, missing the family life he once spurned, enters into a December-May union. Living with his wife, Eliza, and their children on the coast of the secessionist state of Florida and a as member of the Confederate army, he becomes a blockade runner. When he is captured and taken North he must reach out to the relations he once spurned in order to survive prison life and return to his family who are struggling to survive in Florida.
Emily Hill is, not surprisingly, a Civil War historian, a admirer of the facets of the South and publisher besides being a feature writer and novelist. She is hard at work on her second novel, The Tailors of Baltimore: A Civil War Story, due out later this year. Visit her website for more information.
Review by Lynnette Phillips, Avid Book Reviews