978-0-15-202015-6 / 0152020152

The Coffin Quilt: The Feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys

by Rinaldi, Ann

Publisher:HMH Books for Young Readers



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About the book:

Feuds among the mountain folks of West Virginia and Kentucky, particularly the bloody skirmishes between the Hatfield and McCoy families, are often celebrated in American legend and folksongs. In The Coffin Quilt, Ann Rinaldi mines this rich vein of Americana for a fascinating tale that closely follows the real events of the Hatfield-McCoy feud, but which also has implications for our own violent times. Rinaldi--known for Cast Two Shadows, An Acquaintance with Darkness, and other historical fiction novels for teens--suggests in her author's note that "the Civil War conditioned men who fought in it to kill and to hate." Consequently, men came home from the war to their mountains with minds and rifles primed to react to the slightest trespass upon their exaggerated loyalty to kinfolk. The story is told by Fanny, the youngest of the fourteen McCoy children, who traces the beginnings of the famous feud to a confused Civil War shooting and a dispute over a herd of pigs. When her favorite older sister, the beautiful Roseanna, runs off with handsome Johnse Hatfield, it's like a bucket of gasoline thrown on the smoldering hatred between the two families. Warned by the apparition she calls Yeller Thing, Fanny is nonetheless a helpless witness to ambushes and killings, burials and retribution. Too late she realizes that Roseanna's obsession with sewing a traditional but gruesome coffin-decorated quilt is a sign of her evil attraction to deliberately stoking the fires of the feud--providing a psychological thriller ending for this dramatic tale of hillbilly love and revenge. (Ages 10 to 14) --Patty Campbell

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