By: Bruce Gardner
Published by: Zino Publishing
Publication Date: October 10, 2022
Reviewed By: Tripti Kandari
Review Date: August 26, 2022
Bruce Gardner provides a captivating perspective on the American Civil War in Seeing Glory – a compelling narrative that explores the war era through family strife, conflict over faiths, and a pursuit of "Glory" that echoes through each character's spirit.
Sixteen-year-old Abel Bowman shares many Yankees' and northerners' views about slavery's degeneracy. He straddles the line between rejecting this evil legacy and dreading the consequences, which could threaten their survival as minuscule grains of opposition. Then Abel witnesses a life-altering event while assisting ardent abolitionist John Brown in pushing the cause of abolition. The incident stirs up Abel, stimulating him to gain "glory" for the cause of abolition. But Abel must discover what glory truly entails - a terrifying zeal or something much more serene...
The story jumps forward three years to 1959 on the Hodge family plantation in Virginia's pro-slavery southern sphere. There remains an opinion gap in the family of four: anti-slavery radicals Emma and David are on one side and their father and eldest sister Catherine, the "well-intended" slave owners, on the other. It is the self-righteous obstinacy of their beliefs that cuts the path of the collective. Meanwhile, as the civil war escalates, John Brown's warning of an "explosion" comes true. Politics, massacres, and retaliation from rival faiths and religious perspectives all go with war.
The fates of Abel, David, and Emma work to connect their paths. The three zealous radicals face further challenges in their battle for abolition as their clouded consciences and moral conundrums weigh on them. They must not only fight off the self-interests of opportunists against the basic rights of emancipated slaves. They also must recognize and embrace the genuine core of "glory," as well as repair the familial bonds damaged in a battle between self-righteousness and uncompromising faiths.
Gardner uses a strong allegory to depict two contrasting viewpoints on slavery and the faiths that support them. Many of the characters, both historical and fictitious, illustrate this wide range of faiths and patriotic sentiments. Conflict, in its different manifestations, occupies a significant space in the narrative. The conflict arises first in the form of characters and a society that is not compatible with their views, as in the case of Emma and David. This later develops into a serious battle with self, as indicated by Abel and Catherine's doubts about their conscience. The conflict with God also pervades this Christian historical novel, with many protagonists questioning and doubting their plans before discovering final hope and ardor in His trust. The story offers the reader a broad canvas on which to paint locations spanning States and battlegrounds, as well as novel thoughts and viewpoints on the Civil War and slavery, all in one magnificent and engaging plot.
Quill says: Seeing Glory captures the turmoil of war-era society, as well as distinct standpoints to slavery- all wrapped up in poignant familial conflict, romance, and patriotic and glowing spirits striving for “Glory.”
For more information on Seeing Glory: A Novel of Family Strife, Faith, and the American Civil War, please visit the author's website at: www.brucegardnerbooks.com/