Chattanooga native Gregory L. Wade has released his first novel, Broken Valley, about life behind the lines in the Sequatchie Valley during the Civil War.
While there are combat scenes between Federal and Confederate forces, especially the actual 1863 Wheeler’s Raid, the real story is the hardship the fictional Barker family endures in an area split between Union and Confederate sympathies. In a work that is sometimes gritty and very realistic, Mr. Wade describes how families dealt with the crushing isolation, often starved for news about the world outside the mountain ranges that surrounded them. Broken Valley takes many twists and turns as evidenced by one reviewer who wrote, “Scarcely breathing, my heart pounding in my chest, I found Gregory Wade’s new book to be riveting, suspenseful, shocking, and moving.”
Mr. Wade grew up in the Mountain Creek area of Red Bank and is a 1973 Red Bank High graduate. Currently living in Franklin, Tn., with his wife, Beth, he is active in the preservation of historic land and helped save and interpret over 100 acres of the Battle of Franklin.
He is on the staff of the Civil War News, has written for several history publications and currently writes a monthly Civil War column for the Franklin Home Page. He founded the Franklin Civil War Round Table, speaks to various civic and history groups and participates in Civil War reenactments across the South.
He says while a fiction book, Broken Valley is based on research as well as family folk lore passed to him by relatives who grew up in the Sequatchie Valley. He recalls tales of soldiers stealing family possessions and the poverty endured by valley residents and remembers as a child the old family cabin with a secret trap door. Mr. Wade points out the story takes the key characters to several states with some of the book based in a post war Chattanooga.
Broken Valley is available on Amazon.com and can be ordered by most booksellers from the publisher, iUniverse. Mr. Wade will be attending book signings in the Chattanooga area in the next few months. His first will be at the Sequatchie County Library in Dunlap on Friday, May 16 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.