Jarrettsville: A Novel

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Counterpoint Press, 2009 - Fiction - 340 pages
2 Reviews
Based on a true story from the author's family history, Jarrettsville begins in 1869, amid chaos and confusion in the moments following Martha Jane Cairnes's murder of her fiance in front of fifty witnesses and former Union militia members. To find out why she killed him, the story steps back to 1865, six days after the Confederate surrender, when President Lincoln has just been killed by John Wilkes Booth. Booth belongs to the same Rebel militia as Martha's hotheaded brother Richard, who has gone missing. Martha is loyal to her brother but in love with Nicholas McComas, a local hero of the Union cause. Their affair is fraught with echoes of the bloody conflict just ended and destined to be divided by it. Set in northern Maryland, six miles below the Mason-Dixon line--where brothers literally fought on opposing sides, and former slave-owners live next door to abolitionists and freedmen--Jarrettsville uses as a backdrop the most precarious and contentious era in American history. Such tension proves key to Martha's motives in killing the man she loves, and why--astonishingly--she is soon acquitted by a jury of her peers. Told from several perspectives, Jarrettsville is an unforgettable experience, and Nixon's best book yet.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - grnpickle - LibraryThing

This was a very interesting book. I found the many points of view interesting and probably would have given it 5 stars if she would have reordered the points of view. I would have left Nick for last since it was such a different take on what happened. All in all a good book. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Soniamarie - LibraryThing

Fabulous novel! I couldn't put it down. There is history, war, romance, and even a mystery in a way. The setting is the the very end of the American Civil War when North and South are still dealing ... Read full review


Martin Jarrett MD Confederate States Army Veteran 2
Joshua Jarrett Youth 7
Alex McComas United States Army Veteran 10
Mrs Ayres Farmers Wife 14
II Martha Jane Cairnes 1865 21
III Nicholas McComas 18651869 111
IV We the People aprilmay 1869 217
Charles Bouldin Harford County Sheriff 218
Thomas Archer Member of the Jury 246
G Richard Cairnes Distiller of Fine Whiskey 254
Mary Ann Bay Cairnes Mother of the Accused 270
Martha Jane Cairnes the Accused 314
EpilogueCornelia Nixon GreatGranddaughter of George Andrew Cairnes 330
Family Tree 333
The New York Times may 9 1869 334
About the Author 340

Henry Farnandis Esquire Attorney at Law 224
Isabelle Cairnes Kirkwood Mother of Seven 228

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