Friday 6 August 2021




Magnolia was just another sleepy Southern town...until she arrived.

Didi Diyoka can't believe her good fortune when she's given the opportunity to attend high school in America for her senior year - and maybe after that. Once she arrives from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, she marvels at the almost magical upgrades in her education and standard of living. But as time goes on, Didi begins to understand that the trappings of her new life come at a price, and notices the chilling similarities between her new home and the one she left behind. And although it's 2013, it seems that in Magnolia, South Carolina, time has stood still, and that the ghosts of its past are never far away. What then happens forces Didi to examine the values of her community, school and friends, and embark upon a journey of discovery about her new country - and herself.


My Thoughts 

Little book with major significance. A must read for young and old.

There is no better way to describe Paul Ferrante's "The Girl who Stole J.E.B. Stuart". I really believe I was meant to read this book simply because I almost requested it on Book Sirens a while back and didn't because of having too many books to read. Thanks to the publisher, this book made it's way to me and what a surprise it was. As a teacher of Caribbean History and Social Studies here in Trinidad and Tobago this book was impacting to me on a different level than most people. It spoke in some ways to the importance of History and how events of the past still have an effect on our society. 

What Didi's character represented in the story was a young person's desire to find out the truth and speak up even when it is sometimes difficult to be heard. I found the book was well researched, I think the author has a firm understanding of the Civil War until it made me realize that I need to read more about this period myself. I also loved the similarities that were made with Didi's country in the Congo and the United States. 

Other standout characters were Pierce, Mr. Pennington and Heidi. The way Mr. Pennington taught the course on the Civil War speaks to an education environment that is one sided and afraid to some extent to hear another point of view. 

This book was very well written. I hope that more people will read it because I am glad that I did.

Much thanks again to the publisher and author for sending me this very enjoyable novel.

About the Author:
Paul Ferrante is a retired teacher of 40 years. Many of those years were spent teaching in an urban school district where his students were predominantly African-American. There he forged close relationships with his students and would go on to be recognized for promoting cultural diversity in the classroom. Many of the books in his 5 volume T.J. Jackson Mystery series share the themes of inclusion, race relations, acceptance, and/or civil rights, specifically Spirits of the Pirate House (slavery in the Caribbean), Roberto's Return (anti-Latino prejudice), Curse of the Fairfield Witch (religious tolerance), and The Voodoo Cult's Treasure (racism in the South).
“I write these books to TEACH history and promote these themes as well as to entertain,” say Paul Ferrante.



  1. Thank you for reviewing this! I'll have to see if my library has it so I can put it on hold. It sounds awesome.