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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Amelia Beach is a strong woman for a southerner. Already in her twenties, her younger sister, Lucy, taunts her that she is no longer of marriageable age. Growing up in the wealth and privilege of a Savannah home, pampered by slaves, during the Civil War, it’s rather unusual that Amelia’s father would ask her to do something so risky as to accompany a trove of gold bars to a safe place, Nassau, to protect the family fortune from Yankee invaders. It’s also unusual for a young woman in her position to travel alone, on a ship full of men. But these were unusual times and, with her brother a prisoner of war, there was no one else to ask. Little did Amelia or her father realize that the escape would be fraught with danger, both on the voyage as the ship ran the Yankee blockade, but also in Nassau where the community suffered deadly outbreaks of malaria, yellow fever, and smallpox. A society girl from a wealthy Southern family suddenly finds herself isolated in Nassau, tending to sick and dying patients, Yankees and Rebels alike.
James D. Snyder’s Civil War novel, Amelia’s Gold: A story of romance, ruin, resolve and redemption the American Civil War, looks at this troubling period in history from another angle not often considered: the blockade runners who tried to keep trade open with the south during the war. The main character, Amelia, is surprisingly strong for a southern belle. Her talents and intelligence help her endure the trials, hardships, and threats that plague her journey from home to an island retreat. The author has provided the reader with considerable historical insight into a difficult era in American history. His knowledge of the time period is obvious. The setting is well described and the plot is well defined. There are adventure and intrigue at every turn of the story and the reader is compelled to push forward to find a satisfying resolution if there ever was one in this era. A powerful historical novel.