Dear Nell: The True Story of the Haven Sisters

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Kathleen McInerney, Oct 5, 2010 - Louisiana - 378 pages
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Dear Nell: The True Story of the Haven Sisters ( is the story of two sisters from New York City, one of whom (Ellen, or Nell) marries into a prominent plantation family in Louisiana just prior to the Civil War. As such, Ellen is transported into a different culture and a different world - a world that will soon be blown apart by this country's worst maelstrom. Seen through the intimacy of a remarkable personal correspondence (selected from over 1400 letters ), a story unfolds which reveals the effects of the Civil War on each of them - and on their two families now separated by an unbridgeable gulf. Through it all, the two sisters remain loyal to their sibling tie, despite arduous struggles, grievous misunderstandings and tests of faith. Fanny and Ellen's personal histories, articulated with astonishing intelligence and perspective, stand for a much broader account of our country's travails during that time of unprecedented challenge. The ability to articulate and communicate nuance using the written word is a lost art and may be both novel for, and a marvel to, today's readers. The effects of the Civil War on the families, their livelihoods, and, in the South, on their very identity, come alive in their words. Punctuated by details small and large, by humor, love, harsh economic realities, women's roles, and by the anguish caused by death, poverty and mental illness, this is a rare glimpse into a past (but ever present) time.

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About the author (2010)

Kathy McInerney has a background in writing and editing and is a student of history. After transcribing over 1400 handwritten letters and documents into 6 volumes, Kathy saw the stories emerge and demand to be told. She enjoys a quiet life on the coast of Portland, Maine.

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