This Civil War memoir explores fifteen-year-old Jack Benson's transition to manhood as he presents his soldier's account of life in the Confederate cavalry, a life convoluted by the spectral manipulations of Vanita, an old witch-woman, a slave who is sworn to safeguard him. Her hidden presence serves to protect Jack throughout the war in amazing ways, across countless miles, through patrols, battle, and capture.
This is unlike any other Civil War tale you've ever read and the first-person perspective on the realities of the war may surprise you.
“Fenske writes a tight tale with believable protagonists, even those questionable beings who aren't really there. The Hag Vanita reminds me at times of my Mom—always with the advice and the “I told you so” when you don't heed it—and the Civil War-era details are well researched and correct.”
—Bonnie Reed Fry, consummate GoodReads.com book reviewer (over 2700 reviews)
“The Hag Rider demonstrates Thomas Fenske’s ability to capture an era, create a world and bring his readers into the pages as each scene comes to life, and just maybe, a truer sense of reality is uncovered. We tend to forget that soldiers are real people with families, who have known both good and bad times, but then have followed their hearts and stood by their countrymen, perhaps not even truly understanding what they were fighting for.”
—Diane Bylo, co-owner of TomeTender Book Blog
(over 6300 reviews)
“I love that Fenske could bring the sentiments of the times to life, and how he offers plausible motivations. His characters are real people with nuanced views, and I root for Jack the whole time…”
—Kristen Houlihan, independent editor and
owner of The Edifying Word Book Blog
“A captivating fictional book for teens and adults that touches on history, but not in a ‘history lesson’ kind of way. The characters are well developed and relatable, making for an enjoyable and interesting read.”
—Marianne Reese, book blogger and
author of Skylar Moon.
“I enjoyed this first-person account of a young man who runs away from a violent, hard-drinking father and joins up to fight in the Civil War. His kindness to a slave pays off in many ways, including an encounter with an old woman who offers him supernatural protection in the form of a little bag he carries with him. A short, entertaining read.”
—Peter Guzzardi, independent editor
and author of Emeralds of Oz