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Historical Fiction Review   

 

The Wedding Dress
by Virginia Ellis
Ballantine Books, 2002
ISBN:  0-345-44482-5
 
 

Six months after the end of the Civil War, many of the soldiers have found their way home as the war-torn South faces economic hardships during Reconstruction.  At Oak Creek, the Virginia home of the Atwater sisters, the future looks bleak.  Victoria and Julia are war widows, and their seventeen-year-old sister Claire is broken-hearted over prospects of ever finding a husband at all.   

Julia is determined that Claire will marry, and to build their hope for the future, the sisters start creating a new wedding dress.  Even without money or a suitor, the sisters start planning for a spring wedding and the promise of a future spreads to the community as others join in with their own contribution to the dress.   

On a mission from Julia’s deceased husband, Sergeant Monroe Tacy arrives at Oak Creek and more astonishing promises of a future rising from the ashes of war come in a variety of forms.  The emotion of loss is strong in the appearance of ghost soldiers from time to time, yet each manifestation provides an element of comfort, protection and hope.  

Early whispers about The Wedding Dress compared it to the Civil War bestseller Cold Mountain.  Dolly Parton Productions and Columbia Tri-Star Pictures have optioned the film rights.  Needless to say, the lyrical writing of Virginia Ellis is emotionally powerful and leaves the reader wanting more of her southern fiction. 

 

Joyce Dixon
Southern Scribe Reviews

 

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