Voices Over Water: A Civil War Novel

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9781891799198: Voices Over Water: A Civil War Novel

On a lonely, abandoned barrier island of the Carolinas during the Civil War, a head-strong planter's daughter risks her life to set up a school for the freed slaves. In this novel of intrigue and clashing cultures, Sarah Edings faces danger from all sides --- Union soldiers, Rebel raiders and runaway slaves. In the process she becomes a pioneer, a trail-blazing woman who is, herself, transformed through the courageous choices she makes.

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From the Author:


During the summers I spent on Edisto Island, I heard stories from old-timers who walked by our cottage to go fishing in the creek. One recurring story involved three white teachers who came to start schools for the soon to be freed slaves. Sometimes these teachers would be missionaries from the North and indeed there is historic documentation about three teacher who met an untimely death during a storm one Christmas Eve and drown. Their bodies were buried in the Presbyterian Church grave yard. The markers are still there.

But it was another story that interested me: the story that three white women from Charleston had lived on Edisto, a barrier island which was abandoned by all planters, indeed, all whites, during the Civil War and these teachers had started schools. Research led me to the records kept by the Freedman's Bureau when that group came after the war. A note in Box 164 in the Congressional Record reports that upon reaching the island "three white women were living on the island and they had already started a school."

No names. No details. But my imagination was fueled by that note. I gave one such brave woman the name Sarah Edings because records show that the first house at the edge of the shore was built by a William Edings and the first area populated was named Edingville, the northern-most point now known as Jeremy Key.

Spunky, a dedicated teacher, and confused by slavery and the beliefs held by most, even her family, she is both transformed and transformative as she takes over the story.  Actually, I let her take over and enjoyed every minute. I hope you do, too.

From the Back Cover:

"Finely crafted with fully fleshed out characters and vivid settings, Ann Herlong-Bodman's Voices Over Water combines all the elements of the best historical fiction with the pacing of a fast-moving thriller. Ms. Bodman's heroine, Sarah Edings, honors not only Laura Towne, founder of the celebrated Penn Center on St. Helena Island, but also memorializes the four other nameless heroic women credited with having already started schools for the newly freed slaves by the time the Freedman's Bureau had arrived on the South Carolina remote barrier islands."                                                                                        --Brewster Milton Robertson,                                                                    Rainy Days and Sundays

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