When Stars Align is the searing story of an ex-slave, Thaddeus, and the woman he loves, Amy, who is white. It is set in nineteenth century Louisiana at a time when mixed race relationships were unacceptable to society and illegal. When Thaddeus was born to a young field slave who was raped by the plantation owner’s son, his grandparents could not bear to send their only grandchild away. So he was taken from his eleven-year-old mother and given to two of the house slaves to be raised as their own child. That way, his grandparents could watch over him and interact with him but he would never have to know his true parentage. After the Civil War, Thaddeus and Amy hope to be able to enjoy the freedoms for which so many fought and died. But within a decade Jim Crow laws are passed, the Ku Klux Klan establishes itself in the South, and it becomes readily apparent that racial equality will be a long time coming.
When Stars Align is not just a story about the love of a bi-racial couple. It is also a sweeping story of war, reconstruction, and racism that will delight fans of historical fiction. Most of all, however, it is a story of hope.
The Story Behind When Stars Align
When Stars Align is historic fiction that describes societal changes that were wrought by the Civil War and its aftermath. In 1865, General U.S. Grant moved 200,000 troops into the Confederate States to enforce equality during Reconstruction. During the decade that followed, ex-slaves made major progress in education, government and business. States legislated equality and everyone seemed to benefit.
This period of progress ended when the closest election in American history made it impossible to determine whether Rutherford B. Hayes or James Tilden won the election. Ultimately, the Compromise of 1877 was achieved in a “back-room” compromise that withdrew all Union troops from Southern soil and returned those states to home rule. Within a decade all progress toward racial equality had been overturned and the ex-slaves were returned to the status of secondary citizens.
The story is set at a Louisiana cotton plantation, Moss Grove, and told through the eyes of Thaddeus, born from the rape of a young slave girl by Henry, the teenage son of the plantation owner, and the forbidden love that evolves between him and Amy, a white girl.
The story follows both Henry and Thaddeus through actual Civil war battles, such as Port Hudson. Post Civil War events such as the riot at New Orleans Mechanics Hall, the raid at Coushetta, and the election of Blanche Bruce, a Negro Senator. Readers meet Scalawags, Klan leaders and those who spent their lives bent over harvesting cotton.
The effects of the Compromise of 1877 are rarely studied, despite the fact that it changed the course of American society for nearly a century.
Carole Eglash-Kosoff lives in Valley Village, California. She graduated from UCLA and spent her career in the apparel industry, as well as teaching fashion retailing, marketing, and sales at the college level. She has visited more than seventy countries. An avid student of history, she researched the decades preceding and following the Civil War for nearly two years, during which she spent time in Louisiana, the setting for When Stars Align.
In 2006, following the death of her husband, Carole volunteered to teach in South Africa. Her first book, The Human Spirit – Apartheid’s Unheralded Heroes, tells the true life stories of an amazing array of men and women who devoted their lives to help the children, elderly, and disabled in the townships during the worst years of apartheid. They cared when no one else did and their efforts continue today.
Her third book, Winds of Change, is due to be released this summer. It follows the characters of When Stars Align into the decades that closed out one century and led into the next during which the automobile and airplane were introduced, and world events included the Spanish-American War and World War I.
Mrs. Eglash-Kosoff has also established the “. . . a better way!” scholarship which provides money and mentoring for worthy high school students during their first two years of college.
Carole has generously provided a copy of When Stars Align for me to give to one lucky Colloquium reader! So be sure to visit Colloquium on Wednesday, July 20, 2011, to read my review of When Stars Align and enter to win!