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Reviewed by Gisela Dixon for Readers' Favorite
Tennessee Yankee by Herb Hughes is a historical fiction novel set in the era of the Civil War and its aftermath. Tennessee Yankee is essentially the life story of Aaron Richardson, the son of a plantation owner in the South. The story begins with an introduction to Aaron himself, and then rewinds as we are taken through his youth and adult years. Although born and raised in Tennessee, Aaron is against slavery. He meets a girl named Deborah in his youth and they fall in love. The Civil War is looming and Aaron decides that he cannot fight as a Confederate soldier to stand by slavery, and decides to leave the South with Deborah. However, circumstances get in their way and he leaves heartbroken. As Aaron wanders in the Northern states, he meets another girl, Gertie, in Pennsylvania, who is to change his life. But events again quickly overtake him as he finds himself fighting as a soldier for the Union. Things come full circle as Aaron revisits old loves and his past life with surprising twists and turns towards the end.
I really enjoyed reading this book and it actually made the war and the events surrounding it come alive for me. I thought the setting and the surroundings of that time, both in the North and the South, were very authentically portrayed. The fundamental issue of slavery, which was at the heart of the war, has been depicted sensitively and accurately. I also loved the characters in the book and especially Aaron himself as he navigates through his conflicting emotions to finally become the person he was always meant to be. This is a highly engaging read and a great historical fiction novel that I would definitely recommend!