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Archived Group Reads 2016 > August Book of the Month - Sentinels of Andersonville by Tracy Groot

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message 1: by Loraine, CFD Momma (new)

Loraine (librarydiva) | 3227 comments Mod
The Sentinels of Andersonville by Tracy Groot

Near the end of the Civil War, inhumane conditions at Andersonville Prison caused the deaths of 13,000 Union soldiers in only one year. In this gripping and affecting novel, three young Confederates and an entire town come face-to-face with the prison’s atrocities and will learn the cost of compassion, when withheld and when given.

Sentry Dance Pickett has watched, helpless, for months as conditions in the camp worsen by the day. He knows any mercy will be seen as treason. Southern belle Violet Stiles cannot believe the good folk of Americus would knowingly condone such barbarism, despite the losses they’ve suffered. When her goodwill campaign stirs up accusations of Union sympathies and endangers her family, however, she realizes she must tread carefully. Confederate corporal Emery Jones didn’t expect to find camaraderie with the Union prisoner he escorted to Andersonville. But the soldier’s wit and integrity strike a chord in Emery. How could this man be an enemy? Emery vows that their unlikely friendship will survive the war―little knowing what that promise will cost him.

As these three young Rebels cross paths, Emery leads Dance and Violet to a daring act that could hang them for treason. Wrestling with God’s harsh truth, they must decide, once and for all, Who is my neighbor?


message 2: by Loraine, CFD Momma (new)

Loraine (librarydiva) | 3227 comments Mod
I read this book last year. If you like Civil War historical fiction, this is a very powerful read. It made my 2015 favorites list.


message 3: by Hannah (new)

Hannah (bookwormhannah) | 867 comments I'll be joining this one!


message 4: by Loraine, CFD Momma (new)

Loraine (librarydiva) | 3227 comments Mod
Great Hannah! I have invited Tracy Groot to join us mid-month but haven't heard back yet.


message 5: by Staci, Book Awards Specialist (new)

Staci | 1941 comments Mod
I'm definitely in for the discussion! This was my top read of 2015. Loved it! Hope the author can join us. I follow her on Facebook and enjoy her posts.


message 6: by Tawallah (new)

Tawallah | 13 comments I have started on this one, was hoping to have powered through by now as I had a long weekend. Anyway, will do my best over the weekend. It's been a longtime since I joined a BOM discussion.


message 7: by Staci, Book Awards Specialist (new)

Staci | 1941 comments Mod
Welcome back June!!


message 8: by Loraine, CFD Momma (new)

Loraine (librarydiva) | 3227 comments Mod
Glad to have you join us June.


message 9: by Brianne (new)

Brianne | 4 comments I'll join this one!


message 10: by Sam (new)

Sam B | 93 comments I read this one last year too. It's a very powerful read! I'll try to drop by and join in the discussion throughout the month :)


message 11: by MKay (new)

MKay | 35 comments Just started this one.


message 12: by Loraine, CFD Momma (last edited Aug 16, 2016 10:04AM) (new)

Loraine (librarydiva) | 3227 comments Mod
Here are discussion questions for this book. Please feel free to respond to any or all of them. Also if you have questions of your own, please post them. Since some people are still reading the book, please use the spoiler alert you can find above the message box that says (some html is ok) if you are going to be posting specifics from the book that might give away some of the storyline.

1, At the beginning of the book, Violet Stiles is blissfully ignorant of the atrocities taking place just a short distance from her home. Have you ever discovered something unpleasant or inappropriate happening just outside of your circle of awareness? How did you learn about it? What was your response? Do you think we have a responsibility to educate ourselves about things going on around us? Why or why not?

2. Emery Jones and Lew Gann, political enemies, find common ground and become unlikely friends. Have you ever found yourself drawn unexpectedly to someone from a different religious, political, or ideological background. How might such a friendship change a person? How does it change Emery?

3. Dance Pickett has a front-row seat to what's happening at Andersonville. How does it affect him? In what ways can you related to Dance's attitude? What is it that changes his attitude from resignation to determination?

4. Dr. Stiles is able to do more than most to alleviate the suffering of the prisoners. Yet even he runs into obstacles that seem unsurmountable. When have you run into obstacles trying to do something good? What was your response? How can we know whether obstacles are God's way of telling us to move in a different direction or whether they are the enemy's attempts to block us from doing the right thing? What helps Dr. Stiles answer this question for himself.?

5. Until Reverend Gillette enters Andersonville and experience the atrocities firsthand, he is hesitant to ask the people of Americus to help these dying prisoners of war. Have you ever felt compelled to lead your family, friends, or other group in an unpopular direction? What was it that made you feel strongly about the issue, whatever it was? Why, in your opinion, might God sometimes ask u s to speak out--or lead out--against the crowd?

6. Violet's mother, Polly, is primarily focused on domestic challenges, raising her daughters, feeding her family during a difficult time, and participating in her community. Do you think her focus was appropriate? What value is there in ministering primarily to one's family, despite the larger social concerns that may be going on? At what point in the story do Polly's concerns grow beyond her home and family, and what prompts that?

8. Which character in the novel was your favorite and why? Which character surprised you the most, good or bad? What do you imagine Percy Stiles would be doing ten years after the story's conclusion?


message 13: by Brianne (new)

Brianne | 4 comments I just finished this book today. I'll need to think about the discussion questions though


message 14: by Staci, Book Awards Specialist (last edited Aug 20, 2016 07:16PM) (new)

Staci | 1941 comments Mod
#1 One of my favorite parts of the novel was how Violet had her eyes open to what was happening at Andersonville. I am rather naive/Pollyannaish myself so could definitely relate to her.

#2 I loved the friendship between Emery and Lew. What I've found is a bit reverse of what you are asking. I have friends and family that I've discovered via Facebook that we do not share the same views on some topics. While this can be difficult depending on what the topic is, I remind myself that we are all God's children and are not going to agree on everything.

#3 Dance starts to view Andersonville through the lens of a human rather than a Confederate sentry. Soldiers are taught to follow orders and not question authority (which I agree is generally good for the military). It was outside of norm I think for him to disagree with his orders. For the reflective question...In today's environment where we are taught to be PC, it can be a fine line when it's "ok" to share our faith.

#4 & #5 - Great questions. I may come back and answer those later.

#6 It's pretty easy to become focused on your small environment and not consider things/people outside of your immediate concern. Was it appropriate? That's tough to say. She had no idea how bad things were just miles away.

#7 It's been a while since I've read this fabulous novel so do not remember who was my favorite character. What I do remember is my favorite quote...something like "We can't have them think we've gone Catholic and Yankee in the same day". Love that line by Polly!!


message 15: by Tawallah (new)

Tawallah | 13 comments 1. To me, life has been a series of eye-opening experiences. It still amazes me the horrendous conditions people face daily and yet don't speak or powerless to speak out about them. And a lot of things are known but not spoken of publicly. Here in Barbados, incest and child abuse occurs pretty often and yet only addressed when major things happen. For example last year there were at least 5 cases reported in the press, in which at least 2/3 children died. Often I think there is an ostrich response - may be we just don't know how to respond or hope someone else will take care of it.

So yes, I think we need to be aware and get the wisdom how to pray and act in these situations.


2. I struggle with people who are different ( ideologically) to me. It seems hard to find common ground at times like that.
Lew and Emery became friends and saw in each other with the same needs and wishes and found common ground with language. I think this was the major key to the actions of Emery later in the novel.

3. I related mostl to Dance, he felt powerless in his situations and as if he was the only one who cared. I think meeting Emery was the catalyst for his change in behaviour. I liked how this seemed so well orchestrated in the book. I know it was fiction but it reminded me of how God puts unlikely people and circumstances to make us bold and encourage us.

4. The difference between God's conviction and the efforts of the enemy is best discerned by the Holy Spirit. It would be easy to give up, but despite the struggle I found the best thing is to pray, read the Bible and get my emotions under control. If there is no peace, I give up usually. But I admired Dr. Stiles who tried to keep fighting. Great example. And I felt that he was strengthened as he got help and saw what Violet did.

7. My favourite character is Dance Pickett. I relate the his vulnerability in this novel. He wanted to stand for justice but didn't see how he could make a difference. But he really grows after meeting Emery.

The character who surprised the most was boy at the end who went from being a bully to helping out. Don't remember his name and don't want to spoil it for the others.


message 16: by Loraine, CFD Momma (last edited Aug 21, 2016 07:35AM) (new)

Loraine (librarydiva) | 3227 comments Mod
Staci and June great answers from both of you. I liked reading your perspectives on this book and what you enjoyed/learned from it.

#5 Our son has led our family in a direction that is definitely controversial in today's times. He is the CEO and Editor of an online news agency that reports on pro-life and end-of-life issues. I had never really thought much about this issue until he got involved with it in late high school and college. Through his research and my own reading and study, he has led our entire family and others to realize that God wants all lives to be held in esteem.

#7 My favorite character was Violet Stiles because her focus changed so greatly. At the beginning of the book, she was very self-centered; yet at the end, her concern was directed towards others. She matured; and in her maturity, she realized that God wants us to put others before ourselves.

My favorite quote was:
"It is precisely when a body does not know what to do that the answer is easy--do anything. Preferably small and kind. When we attend small things, the other part of us works on ways to get back to big things."


message 17: by Amanda (new)

Amanda (mandey1) | 46 comments so I was just watching "who do you think you are" and found in season 4 episode 1 that they tour Andersonville prison. I think it really adds a new dimension to see pictures and the site of the prison.

you can find it on amazon. it's Kelly Clarkson


message 18: by Loraine, CFD Momma (new)

Loraine (librarydiva) | 3227 comments Mod
Thanks for sharing Amanda. I love Who do You Think You are?


message 19: by Amanda (new)

Amanda (mandey1) | 46 comments Me too Lorraine


message 20: by Loraine, CFD Momma (new)

Loraine (librarydiva) | 3227 comments Mod
It has been renewed for Season 9 which means it should be starting again probably sometime in September!!!


message 21: by Amanda (new)

Amanda (mandey1) | 46 comments ooooooh. not good for my budget, bet amazon will love me. :)


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