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Reviewed by Kathryn Bennett for Readers' Favorite
Crimes of a Guilty Land by Brooke Stewart follows two families - the Harts and Beauchamps - through the years of the 19th century. We first start with them in 1825 with Robert Hart. Years down the line, just before the Civil War breaks out, he finds himself teaching the children of slave families in Virginia and eventually he gets caught up in the John Brown raid. It is there that he crosses paths with the Beauchamp family and tragedy occurs. The families are forever intertwined through love, war, and tragedy.
I have to applaud Brooke Stewart for the writing in this book; it really seamlessly follows the lives of these families. Not only does it manage to bring history and family together, but it creates characters that you truly enjoy. I like many of the characters but I think the later life of Brownie was one of my favorites. I like how he looks back on his family and enjoys the history. The book itself is put together wonderfully; you can tell that research went into the historic points - the small details stand out and as a history buff I can say they are pretty accurate. The layers of story are compelling and truly engaging. A well crafted book is always a joy to read and this one was a joy for me. I think anyone who enjoys a family story and a good historical view is going to enjoy this book to the fullest extent; you can't miss it.