What if you were counted among hundreds of civilians wrongly charged with treason?
Creighton Branagan is one of the few men still residing in the mill village of Roswell, Georgia, at the closing stages of the American Civil War. His deafness excludes him from military service and condemns him as an outcast.
Mae Parrish’s dissatisfaction extends to a life of too much work and too little joy. She forms a wary alliance with Creighton when they are included among hundreds of southern textile workers arrested for treason and deported to northern prisons under Federal guard. Their crime: manufacturing Confederate uniforms.
Clingstone chronicles their arduous journey by wagon and train, followed by an emotional internment rife with privations and disease. It is during the course of these hardships that their resilience is repeatedly tested, and their pact of survival deepens into a steadfast love that withstands even the deepest self-inflicted wounds of war.
History's working class deserve romance, too. I write happy ever afters for them.
After nearly twenty years banging my head against a wall trying to get my books traditionally published, I came to my senses and self-published my first book Clingstone in 2016. Clingstone went on to win the historical category in the 2017 I Heart Indie Contest and placed as a finalist in the 2017 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. The goose egg on my forehead is slowly shrinking, but the world of indie publishing has its own set of frustrations.
Namely, I'm a drop of water in a very big bucket.
But you've made it this far into my author bio, so huzzah! This drop of water has briefly floated to the top.
I swoon over the research that goes into the writing process: historically accurate slang, the asking price for a team of mules, and how long it took to travel 280 miles by train during the American Civil War are my nerdy bliss. If you admit to a similar dorky fascination with the preceding, and you're drawn to working-class heroes and heroines, then one of my American Historical romances is fluttering its eyelashes flirtatiously in your direction.
I love hearing from my readers and invite you to visit my website martiziegler.com
Wonderful Love Story Set in Post Civil War America
The story begins as the Civil War is winding down. Mae Parrish works in a mill along with many other women in village of Roswell, Georgia—and one man, Creighton Branagan, who was not conscripted because he is deaf. Everyone assumes he is stupid, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Creighton, a handsome man, has been judged wrongly for his handicap but he is a smart man and protects his young nephew against all who would harm him.
When the Union troops show up, Mae and Creighton are arrested with hundreds of mill workers for treason and sent to northern prisons because they manufactured Confederate uniforms. The story tells of their journey by wagon and train and their imprisonment and after. During the course of many hardships, Mae and Creighton fall love.
I loved the story. The theme seemed to be a new life out of the ashes of the past and overcoming the hardships life throws at us. It’s very cleverly written and will draw you in. Ziegler shows us America as the war was ending, a country torn apart, a devastated South. People had to find new lives. In the midst of it, Mae and Creighton help each other. Only Mae can understand Creighton’s crude speech and protect him from those who would harm him. And he helps her move on. There is laughter, too.
Creighton is a complex, noble hero; Mae is a feisty heroine with an indomitable spirit… just what Creighton and his nephew need. Their adventures on the way to love will keep you turning pages.
Mae, having lost her brother who took care of her, is working at a mill in Georgia during the Civil War. Creighton moved to town to take care of his sister's son after she died. He also works at the mill, but is deaf. One day Mae and her friend play a joke on Creighton that doesn't go as planned. She sees a bit more of Creighton than she plans on. Unable to quit thinking about hum, she seeks him out at work. One day, the Yankees come and take over the mill. All the mill workers are arrested for treason and moved to a northern prison. This begins their journey. I was sucked right into this historical romance. The language of the book is hard to follow at first. Once you get it, you don't notice it anymore. It's written in Mae's POV. The writing was good and the story flowed well. I really liked Mae as a character. She was a strong woman for the time and stuck up for herself and others. Creighton was a gift to be unwrapped. I absolutely fell in love with that man. I'm a fan of historical romances, and Clingstone is great historical romance. Reviewed on behalf of Once Upon an Alpha.
When it comes to Civil War romances, you can’t help but draw to mind one of the most well-known of all time, Gone with the Wind. What I absolutely loved about this novel was that it’s about as far removed from Gone with the Wind as you can get. Instead of a high-class lady for a heroine, we have a lowly mill worker who isn’t a virgin, or afraid to speak her mind. Instead of a suave and debonair male lead, we have a deaf man who cares for his ill-mannered nephew as his ward. And yet, our characters are unbelievably dynamic, and like Gone with the Wind, we see how all their lives are affected and worsened by the ravages of war. However, in the end it also this terrible war that brings them all together.
This novel takes us on an unbelievable journey, where we see our lead characters start off as enemies in a southern mill, but grow closer as they are sent north with their fellow mill workers to a prison for producing Confederate uniforms. It was amazing to see these characters start to rely on one another throughout all of their difficulties. No matter what troubles they encountered, they could always find their way to each other again.
I personally found Mae to be an extremely unique, yet complicated female lead. I’m not gonna lie, when the novel begins, you kind of dislike her. In a word, she’s basically a brat. She joins a friend of hers to pull an unkind prank on the deaf Creighton. She whines and complains, yet we quickly discover that she’s a strong character who’s had to adapt because she’s been on her own for so long. Mae has built up a tough exterior to survive, but it is Creighton and his unruly nephew, Owen, who let her connect and trust others again.
Clingstone was very difficult for me to get into at first. I didn't like Mae's friends and didn't understand how she could be around them and the plot was plodding along. As the story progressed, I became engrossed and didn't want to put the book down.
The characters of Mae, Creighton and even his nephew Owen had a depth to them that I didn't expect. They each tended to say things they didn't mean to cover up their feelings or their hurt. When they were a threesome they were formidable but when Mae was left out or thought she was things sometimes got harrowing.
The story begins in GA in 1864 as the Civil War is winding down and continues as they become prisoners and sent to Tennessee, Kentucky and Indiana after getting their freedom but at what cost? How they survived and what they had to do in order to do so was often heartbreaking. Seeing how Mae wanted to help Creighton survive with his deafness was heartwarming even if he didn't always see it that way. Owen was a little bit of comic relief at times but was still a little boy that didn't always realize that what he said and did could not only hurt others but get them hurt by others. The soldiers were an intense lot but the author let the ravages of war seep through her words.
The ending sealed the deal for me since it brought the story full circle giving me the closure I wanted and needed along with what should be a happily ever after. An epilogue would have been wonderful.
I look forward to reading other books by Ziegler, a new to me author, to see if she reels me in sooner.
This story completely sucked me in, I couldn’t put this book down. Based mostly in Georgia post civil war tells the story of Mae and Creighton who are mill workers who along with all the women, children and few men working at the mill are taken by the Yankees and imprisoned.
The story tells of Mae and Creighton’s, along with his nephew Owen and their struggle to survive during a time of total chaos. Creighton is labeled as the town’s idiot but people don’t realize he’s deaf not unintelligent. Once Mae finds out the true, she sees Creighton in a different light and can’t help but come to his aid. The love story was a slow build with the two main characters that came from damaged backgrounds. Overall an enjoyable story, one based on true history.
Lovers of historical romance will adore Clingstone.
It took me a few chapters to really fall into the story. The beginning dialect did give me a bit of trouble (dang Coralie and her trash talk), but it smoothed out rather quickly. Once I was hooked, that was it. I couldn't possibly get enough of this book.
Marti Ziegler's writing was brilliant and she brought the story to life right before my very eyes. I fell in love with both the story and the characters.
I thoroughly enjoyed Clingstone and look forward to seeing what else the author writes in the future.
* This book was received from the author in exchange for an honest review. *