Before The War

Two chairs & table-E

The men who wore the gray started out as little boys. They had a story before the war. The decade before the Civil War was the carefree time of boyhood and youth, a time when they developed the character that would sustain them during the most trying and defining time of their lives — The War between the North and the South. They learned to be men and when the war came, they became citizen soldiers.

In the decade before The War, the girls prepared for marriage and motherhood. With their fathers’ permission, they put up their hair and lengthened their skirts to the floor. Despite the charm of courtship and young womanhood, they were not deceived; the girls knew being a wife and mother required strength, courage and the ability to withstand sorrow. And their mothers taught them to cultivate fortitude. When The War came, they needed it.

Vacant Chairs is the first book in the series “Before The War,” which explores the lives of the young men and women in Benton County (now Calhoun), Alabama, in the decade before The War. It was their seed-time, when character took root, new families bloomed and life was full of promise.

A vacant chair

Vacant Chairs

The long-celebrated heroism of the men and women of the South was born out of thousands of ordinary decisions made in the decade before the American Civil War. Vacant Chairs is the story of seed-time, when Nathan Shelton, his friends and neighbors grew to adulthood, plowed their fields, fell in love, built their homes, and lived their lives, preparing unknowingly for their greatest trial of personal character.

Eighteen-year old Nathan Shelton finds even the lush beauty of Northeastern Alabama has its sorrows when his family dies in a cyclone. He must find his way while cultivating the fields his father plowed and planted and cooking the meals his mother used to make, filling roles he thought were years in his future. Even his close relationship with the Gordon family cannot help him become the mature man that tragedy demands. … More