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  • Location: Virginia

A Shout in the Ruins

A Shout in the Ruins

Why a Booktrail?

1790s – 1980s: The life and times of Beauvais plantation, Virginia

  • ISBN: 978-1473667778
  • Genre: Fiction

What you need to know before your trail

Spanning over one hundred years, from the antebellum era to the 1980’s, A Shout in the Ruins examines the fates of the inhabitants of Beauvais Plantation outside of Richmond, Virginia. When war arrives, the master of Beauvais, Anthony Levallios, foresees that dominion in a new America will be measured not in acres of tobacco under cultivation by his slaves, but in industry and capital. A grievously wounded Confederate veteran loses his grip on a world he no longer understands, and his daughter finds herself married to Levallois, an arrangement that feels little better than imprisonment. And two people enslaved at Beauvais plantation, Nurse and Rawls, overcome impossible odds to be together, only to find that the promise of coming freedom may not be something they will live to see.

Travel Guide


The Beauvais Plantation in this novel isn’t real but there are a few places where you can visit a plantation like it would have been back at the time of the novel.

This is the story of one plantation just after the Antebellum period 1790s – 1860s) via the American Civil War in 1865, all the way to 1980’s.

The story takes place in the South, the defeated south where violence roams and affects every way of life. Virginia is facing a wave of horror as Confederate soldiers force their way through the land, raping, pillaging and murdering. The slaves are free but they’re far from safety as the shadow of violence follows them everywhere.

The plantation is a microcosm of the civil war, of America itself. The owner of the plantation plans to bring the railroad through the land. With his neighbour gone fighting in the war, he even steals his land. When the neighbour returned, it’s not just his land, that’s gone – his life has changed for ever.

Nurse and Rawls used to be slaves and although are now emancipated they remain slaves to many people. The war might be over but the scars remain.

The events of this time and setting are revealed through the eyes of each of the narrators in the book. The history revealed by those who live it.

Booktrailer Review

Susan: @thebooktrailer

An epic and all encompassing read. It takes place over many many years from before the Civil war in 1865 leading up to 1980s. There’s a lot of ground to cover and a lot of characters to keep track of. But this author is not afraid of a challenge.

It’s a novel of shadows – black, white and lots of shades of gray – there’s several voices all at one – speaking and trying to get their point across which is often hard to separate. But on another note, this technique does translate the confusion of war well.

The landscape, the violence, the rawness and the breathtaking passion of those who live there is amazing to read. The truth of slavery and inhumane behaviour , less so. But it’s like a sketch on a wall – too large to appreciate in its entirety and it would have been good to spend time with one character at a time for longer period.

The cruelty and hopeless of the Civil war comes through loud and clear but I I think a simpler timeline with less voices would have made even the whispers of the message  a lot more powerful.

Booktrail Boarding Pass: A Shout in the Ruins

Destination : Virginia  Author/Guide: Kevin Powers  Departure Time: 1790s – 1980s

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