In case it was not evident from my previous reviews, my most recent reads have been historical novels set during wartime, specifically World War II. Which is why I wanted to read We Must Be Brave, by Frances Liardet.
This Is My Life
According to family lore, when I was just a newborn, my mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother wanted me to be christened. However, my father interceded, saying that when and if I were baptized, it should be something that I knowingly would choose. His stance made sense to my mother, and I was not baptized as a baby.
Growing up, my family moved a lot. Throughout the upheaval, the one constant in my life was my sisters. Each time we went to a new school, in a new town, in a new state, they were there with me, lending their support. We knew that, no matter what, we were in it together.
Because I have been blessed with such special siblings, I wanted to read a historical novel about two sisters whose bond sustained them through adversity.
On 4 August 1914, England declared war on Germany, and the War to End All Wars commenced. Patriotism pervaded the country, prompted by fife and drum corps marching through the city streets. Between 4 August and 12 September, the military held massive voluntary recruitment efforts. A total of 478,893 men joined the army during those two months. It is during one of these patriotic parades that the novel, A Stitch in Time, by Beryl Kingston, begins.
“[You] are the sum total of [your] ancestors. You are not limited by their limitations, but you have the potential of their accumulated sense of possibilities. And, you are a product of their stories even though you don’t know it.” ~Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Like every family everywhere, our combined families (mine, my spouse’s, our stepfamilies’, and extended) are a blend of ups and downs, highs and lows.
Throughout the branches of our family trees, I have discovered abolitionists alongside slaveholders and freemen next to slaves. I hope that by telling each and every tale, no matter how distasteful, that I might help shine a light on one of the darkest times in American history.
It is because of our families’ connections to the many sides of slavery that I found Ancestry.com’s Railroad Ties both poignant and hopeful. I hope you find this short film as moving as I have.