Home Light Burning

Written by Jim H. Ainsworth
Review by Jeff Westerhoff

At the end of the American Civil War, rebels Lev and Hy Rivers return home to their family in Texas. On the way home, Lev is wounded and treated by a woman whose father was a doctor. Accused of horse theft and murder by a local tavern keeper named Filson, a Yankee sympathizer, the brothers flee the town and head for Texas. Upon arriving back home with their family, they are faced with Yankee carpetbaggers looking for revenge who desire the property that belonged to anyone who fought with the South.

Based upon actual events in the lives of his ancestors, Ainsworth’s story tells the disturbing tale of Reconstruction in Texas. Families were torn apart or forced to move and settle elsewhere because of the lawlessness and injustice that visited the land after the Civil War. Resolved to fight back, the Rivers brothers were faced with strong opposition, except for a former powerful Texas politician who tried to help them fight against the injustices brought upon their family.

I really enjoyed this novel. The principal characters, the Rivers brothers, were well drawn. Even though actual character names were changed by the author, the events described are accurate because they were based upon incidents in his ancestors’ lives. This made the story even more believable. This exceptionally well written work is highly recommended.