Varina (B&N Exclusive Edition)

Varina (B&N Exclusive Edition)

by Charles Frazier

Hardcover(B&N Exclusive Edition)

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This edition, only available at Barnes & Noble, includes an in-depth conversation with Charles Frazier where he discusses the origins of the book, the intersections of fact and fiction in historical fiction, his research, the journey from Cold Mountain to Varina and much more.
Sooner or later, history asks, which side were you on?
In his powerful new novel, Charles Frazier returns to the time and place of Cold Mountain, vividly bringing to life the chaos and devastation of the Civil War
Her marriage prospects limited, teenage Varina Howell agrees to wed the much-older widower Jefferson Davis, with whom she expects the secure life of a Mississippi landowner. Davis instead pursues a career in politics and is eventually appointed president of the Confederacy, placing Varina at the white-hot center of one of the darkest moments in American history—culpable regardless of her intentions.
The Confederacy falling, her marriage in tatters, and the country divided, Varina and her children escape Richmond and travel south on their own, now fugitives with “bounties on their heads, an entire nation in pursuit.”
Intimate in its detailed observations of one woman’s tragic life and epic in its scope and power, Varina is a novel of an American war and its aftermath. Ultimately, the book is a portrait of a woman who comes to realize that complicity carries consequences.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062856135
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/03/2018
Edition description: B&N Exclusive Edition
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 367,621
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 17.20(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Charles Frazier is the author of Cold Mountain, an international bestseller that won the National Book Award and was adapted into an Academy-Award winning film by Anthony Minghella. He is also the author of the bestselling novels Thirteen Moons and Nightwoods.


Raleigh, North Carolina

Date of Birth:


Place of Birth:

Asheville, North Carolina


B.A., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; M.A., Ph.D., Appalachian State University

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Varina 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It will make you want to read more about this woman who had a bad marriage, a civil war, and poverty thrust upon her and remained her own person throughout.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Obviously a difficult topic. Made me wonder why civil war reenactments are popular. This book mmakes you think.
Delphimo 9 days ago
Charles Frazier presents another bitter look on the ravages of the Civil War, this time Frazier delves into an account on Varina Howell Davis, the second wife of Jefferson Davis. The war has ended and Varina and her surviving children race to a haven in Florida. The story jumps back and forth exposing Varina in various times of her life. The story uncovers happiness and grief and richness and poverty. Frazier described a life surrounded by politics and greed, and the hard, cold reality of war. I was in that wagon, bouncing around and hungry on that trip to Florida, and desperate for the journey to end.
Anonymous 5 months ago
I seldom give up on historical fiction, but I absolutely could not get through this book!
Anonymous 7 months ago
This book is so beautifully written. An example of literature well done. The story is also insightful. Varina was strong, but a victim in tumultuous times.
TGM1969 9 months ago
Good read. A different place and time where women had to make choices they would rather not to survive. War can sweep you and put you in positions of not your choosing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TRFeller More than 1 year ago
When I was a boy, there was an anthology TV series called The Great Adventure. One of the episodes was called “The Treasure Train of Jefferson Davis” starring Michael Rennie as the title character and Katharine Bard, a fairly successful television actress of the time, as his wife Varina. The TV story consisted of his flight from Richmond at the end of the war until his capture in Irwinville, Georgia. Davis and Varina travelled separately until a few days before they were both found by Union troops. Varina’s journey occupies a central and best part of this fictionalized account of her life by the author of Cold Mountain. Frazier tells her story in a non-linear manner using a fictional meeting between her and a middle-aged man named James Blake as a frame. Blake was a mixed-race man who had been unofficially adopted as a four year old boy by Varina during the war. They were separated afterwards and only re-connected shortly before her death in 1906. Although the granddaughter of a New Jersey governor, Varina Howell was the only child of a Natchez businessman who failed in most of his endeavors but did himself not own slaves. A well-educated teenager, she married Davis, who was more than twice her age and was then a widower living on a plantation in Mississippi between Natchez and Vicksburg. Davis’s first wife was the daughter of Zachary Taylor, who later became President of the United States, and it is clear that Varina had to live with the knowledge that the first wife was Davis’s true love. During Davis’s and Varina’s honeymoon they visited the grave of his first wife! Davis and Varina only spent about half their 45 years of married life living with each other, because they seemed to get along better when separated by thousands of miles. During their separations, Varina formed a close friendship with Julia Grant, the widow of President Grant, visited Europe, and wrote articles and an advice column for Joseph Pulitzer’s newspaper. After his death, she finished his autobiography, but only one of their six children outlived her. I had not known much about her prior to reading this book, so I found it very informative.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Having not read many books on the Civil War, I was interested in the authors perception and treatment of the Davises. Jeff Davis was as unlikeable in this novel as I had imagined, and Varina only slightly more palatable. She was, at least, seemingly aware of the horrible consequences of her husband's actions but how she could have stayed with him is a huge question. Frazier's treatment of Varina is sympathetic and the story, while a bit choppy as it vacillates among years, is well written and believable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved Cold Mountain, and there were moments that I like Varina, but overall it was tedious.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Charles Frazier’s writing is pure joy. His characters are presented with such depth, empathy, and respect simply for who they are/were, how their lives mattered regardless of station in another difficult chapter of our country’s history. Certainly anyone with even a passing interest in the Civil War would enjoy this book but as with “Cold Mountain,” that’s not a prerequisite.
brf1948 More than 1 year ago
Charles Frazier, at his wonderful best, brings us Varina, a southern belle who is also a smart, savvy woman, strong willed and loyal. We follow Varina from her youth into her old age as she lives through the most devastating period of America's history. This is a book to treasure, and recommend to friends and family. As with his other historical novels, I consider Varina a national treasure.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent book.