Friday, December 2, 2022

Audiobook Review: Varina by Charles Frazier

Varina, by Charles Frazier book cover and review
Varina, the story of Jefferson Davis' wife, was fascinating.

Many years ago I read Cold Mountain, and I remember learning quite a bit about the Civil War era. So when I saw Frazier had written Varina, I had to check it out. I also read Nightwoods, which I didn't even remember until I looked it up. I didn't like that one as much...

There is so much I didn't know. Their marriage wasn't that happy, in fact, they spent much of it apart. She was much younger than him. They took in a black child that Varina found on the street and raised him as their own. This black child is the impetus for Varina telling her story. If it wasn't for Jefferson catching up with them, Varina and the children probably would have made it to Cuba -- to which all the leaders of the Confederacy tried to escape.

There is much more. Varina, in her old age, tells the story of her escape, as well as how she came to be married to Davis, to her long lost "son."  It is a wonderful story that easily kept my attention.

I do wish there were an afterword about what was real and made up. Where the author found his information. How reliable is this account, etc. I love historical fiction but always want to know what facts I can rely on!

The narrator of the audio is Molly Parker, a familiar voice to me. I had to look her up on IMDB and found that she is the actress I thought. She does a great job. 

If you want to learn more about the Civil War and its aftermath, I highly recommend Varina.

Published by Ecco, 2018
Audiobook obtained from
368 pages

Rating: 4.5/5

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  1. I've had Nightwoods on my shelf forever. It is one of those books that I bought because I knew of the author (thanks to Cold Mountain), and because I thought the cover looked intriguing.

  2. This sounds like a good one. I know much less about the Civil War than I should. I do think it's a disservice when the author of historical fiction doesn't give the reader an After Word saying what's real and what isn't, especially because much more is usually real than I think.


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