The Twisted Crown - Book Review


The Twisted Crown

Author: Anita Richmond Bunkley
Genre: Fiction - Historical
Date Published: August 1, 2018
ISBN-10: 0962401242
ISBN-13: 9780962401244


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Book Review of :  The Twisted Crown


The Twisted Crown by Anita Bunkley is a well-turned piece of historical fiction that seamlessly weaves together real events that happened during the Civil War and the reconstruction years. The protagonist is a woman named “Eva Philips” who is spirited away from slavery in the dark of night from the Stillwater Plantation in South Carolina. Bunkley’s novel describes Stillwater as, “A slave-breeding hellhole it was, sittin’ all by itself way out in the country. The slaves called it Hell on Earth.” Stillwater was owned by Joseph Cantrell who was akin to the Simon Legree character of Harriet Beecher Stowe‘s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”  Cantrell boasted that he fed stillborn babies to the dogs to make them hungry for black flesh. This was the man that Eva’s mother, Mayree was forced to contend with.

Eva’s escape is successful, and she is taken in by Tulley Simson, a woman living in Boston. Eva lives the life of a free woman; she learns to read and write and when she grows up gets a job from a mapmaker.

Late one evening at the mapmaker’s office, Eva meets a very interesting man who had come to her place in regards to a map. Sparks fly between them and a romance blossoms, and soon wedding bells ring.  But all is not well, the war between the North and South is raging, and her husband decides to join the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment which happens to be a historically famous military regiment that won numerous accolades for their bravery. Her husband fights in the horrific attack on Fort Wagner. That battle takes the lives of half of the regiment.  Eva reads about the battle in the Newspapers and waits to see if her husband is one of the survivors or one of the dead. The war leaves her with two of the most precious people in her life unaccounted for. She vaguely remembers her mother; she recalls her mother’s hair and how it was intricately braided, hence the title of the book.

When the war ends, she is determined to find out the truth about her two loved ones.  Bunkley writes with sensitivity and depth, as she resurrects the voices of the enslaved and provides a rare window into the experiences and thoughts of those unfortunate souls. She talks of their resistance, resilience and their desire for freedom.  The novel is many things, a passionate love story, a wrenching portrait of a mother and daughter relationship torn apart, and a book that captures the excitement of President Lincoln’s proclamation of emancipation that eventually freed hundreds of thousands of African Americans held in bondage.

While illuminating the fading memories of a time in our history; post-Civil War reconstruction, Bunkley vividly portraits how shackles were shed but replaced with utter poverty, homelessness, starvation, and little hope for a better day. Her real achievement, however, is putting on her pages flesh-and-blood characters, and heart-wrenching accounts of the trials of former slaves during that dark period in America’s past.

Bunkley’s, The Twisted Crown, is an extraordinary novel that is a reminder to new generations of the evil and depravity of slavery and how costly Freedom truly is.

About Anita Richmond Bunkley


During Anita Bunkley's twenty-nine year literary career, she has produced novels that introduce readers to unique periods of history from the Afro-centric point of view. Reviewers and fans refer to her novels as sweeping sagas that are extremely entertaining & embraced for their historical accuracy, strong romantic themes, and vivid characterizations of people of color in periods of history not widely showcased in literary works. Anita is an NAACP IMAGE AWARD nominee, a member of the TEXAS INSTITUTE OF LETTERS, winner of Favorite Author Award from Go On Girl Book Club, and the recipient of a Career Achievement Award from Romantic Times magazine. Published by major houses such as Penguin USA, Harper Collins, Harlequin, and Kensington, many of her novels, anthologies, and romances have appeared in Literary Guild, Doubleday Book Club, Black Expressions Book Club, and on Essence Magazine's Black Board: African American Best-seller list in both hardcover and paperback.

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