Letters from Vinnie by Maureen Stack Sappey

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Synopsis

This is the story of Vinnie Ream, a real historical figure who was a teenager at the start of the Civil War. Through fictionalized letters spanning eight years, from the time the Ream family moves to Washington, D.C., to the eve of her departure for Italy, Vinnie chronicles her life to a friend. In 1861 Vinnie is 13 years old and already recognized as an accomplished painter, musician, and poet. She is also known for her fierce political opinions and formidable beauty. Pushing away her numerous suitors in order to contribute to the war effort, Vinnie sings for wounded soldiers and at fundraising concerts, and at age 16 turns her talents toward sculpting. Her "heart's fondest ambition" is to sculpt a likeness of Abraham Lincoln; and when she obtains permission, she works on it in his office for five months. Vinnie finishes the clay bust in the morning before Lincoln's assassination and is later commissioned to create a life-size image of the great man in plaster. Today, when visitors enter the Rotunda in the Capitol building, they are greeted by Vinnie's beautiful statue of Lincoln, which was recast in white marble in Italy.
 

About Maureen Stack Sappey

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Published August 1, 1999 by Front Street imprint of Boyds Mills Press. 248 pages
Genres: Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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She skillfully uses major and minor characters to illustrate the most painful effects of the war: division between families (Vinnie's brother defies their Unionist family to fight for the Confederacy) and dashed dreams (a 16-year-old bugler, accepted into the Peabody Conservatory before the war, ...

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