Set during the Civil War in the mountains of North Carolina, Ghost Riders portrays a little-known and seldom-researched aspect of the war. When her husband joins the army, Malinda Blalock cuts her hair, disguises herself as his brother, and goes right along with him. From the same impoverished mountain area is Zebulon Vance. He overcomes his modest beginnings and becomes North Carolina’s governor during the turbulent war years. Intertwined with these stories are present-day characters. The ghosts from the war grow restless when re-enactors stir up unsettled memories. Rattler and Nora Bonesteel possess the “sight,” and it’s up to them to soothe the angry spirits.
If readers are looking for a story with no loose ends, this isn’t the book for them. McCrumb weaves a compelling tale in a place where the war was personal, leading to feuds that lasted for generations. Malinda says it best, “Well, when the war is over…those Michigan boys will go home…and leave the war behind. But you will still be here — right where you fought, and the enemy will be your neighbor.” Highly recommended to all Civil War buffs.