What the River of the Cherokee Did Not Tell: Jonathan’s Story by James Short – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

What the River of the Cherokee Did Not Tell

Book Blurb:

Jonathan Asher hides in a hollowed log with his sister while his family’s cabin on the River of the Cherokee burns. There is complete darkness. Outside, a boy’s voice promises, “I’ll come back for you.”

What the River of the Cherokee Did Not Tell by James ShortThis early memory haunts Jonathan Asher as he comes of age in the epic decade leading into the American Revolution.

Raised at the Asher Trading Post, his world changes with a blood payment for his life to the Seneca.

He takes to the road, first as an itinerant preacher, too young to be not led into temptation,

Then as a peddler and vagabond traveling through a country increasingly at war with itself.

His fortune turns. He becomes a merchant, smuggler, and friend of a fellow smuggler, Benedict Arnold,

And the beloved of a girl who wants to hear every story in the world.

Under the cover of a war profiteer, he offers to spy for the Continental Army in New York.

And before Jonathan becomes the avenger that he believes he must be, the boy, now a man, keeps the promise made on the River of the Cherokee.

My Review:

I enjoy books regarding the Revolutionary War and always appreciate the efforts of our great-greats back then to survive a war no one thought the colonies capable. This novel presents a tough scenario that hooks and leads into the story of Jonathan Asher as his brother enabled his survival first from Native American attack and later as a privateer.

My problem is that my interest lagged. I kept reading, waiting for the direction expected only to discover it wasn’t going there.

What the River of the Cherokee Did Not Tell by James ShortJonathan first discovers God, then the realization of his lack of religious education. As a boy, he ventures where his nose points and discovers ways of living as a peddler and odd jobs. When he is introduced to Benedict Arnold, he discovers many more ways of survival—that of a merchant, smuggler, privateer, and later as a war profiteer.

Not that he’s happy with himself by working the latter. Through the latter, he is recruited to spy for the Continental Army in New York. He takes that job as a way of pursuing the vengeance he has sworn to avenge the torture and death of his beloved.

I’m not sure where the espionage comes in as most of the narrative focuses on his efforts at finding the three men responsible for her ultimate painful death.

He has, however, in the space of Book 1, managed to find one of the men. His older brother appears to be haunting him as well as he appears to surface at most agreeable times, though that thread does not end happily.

And then…”to be continued” appears. Well, talk about cliffhangers. Unfortunately, I was not able to engage sufficiently with Jonathan. The war is ugly and it would appear nothing changes from war to war; there are always those who would profit from the suffering of the many. I’m sure this odyssey will appeal to Revolutionary War buffs, the saga apparently continuing in Jonathan’s efforts to seek the remaining two of the three and there are still years of war to survive. Just not for me.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through @NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts.

Rosepoint Rating: Three-point Five Stars 3 1/2 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: US Historical Fiction, War & Military Action Fiction, Action & Adventure Romance Fiction
ASIN: B09TQ1Q7ZP
Print Length:368 pages
Publication Date: June 1, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link(s): What the River of the Cherokee Did Not Tell [Amazon]

What the River of the Cherokee Did Not Tell by James ShortThe Author: For me, one of the great pleasures of writing is having a character come out of your head and begin to speak with a mind of its own. I’ve written WHERE FORTUNE LIES, a time-slip novel where the vehicle to the past is the human heart, which may be just as magical as stones or gems or other methods of transportation. As for my curriculum vitae, I graduated from UCLA with a bachelors in Spanish taking a circuitous route through the University of Santa Cruz and the University of Barcelona. In an alternate universe where my life has gone wrong, I would be devoting the time of my long prison sentence to translating Don Quixote into English. I’ve run my own business selling Spanish language gift items. I am married with two grown daughters.

©2022 V Williams V Williams

Answering Liberty’s Call: (Ladies of the Revolution Book 1) by Tracy Lawson – #BookReview – Military Historical Fiction

Answering Liberty’s Call by Tracy Lawson 

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Answering Liberty's Call by Tracy LawsonIn 1778, war is men’s business. That doesn’t stop Anna Stone from getting involved in the fight. As the wife of a preacher-turned-soldier, a healer, and mother of three, Anna knows her place in this world. She tends to things at home while her husband and brothers fight for liberty. But when her loved ones face starvation at Valley Forge, she refuses to sit idly by. Armed with life-sustaining supplies, Anna strikes out alone on horseback over 200 miles of rough and dangerous terrain. Despite perilous setbacks along the way, sheer determination carries her toward her destination. When she learns of a plot to overthrow General Washington, her mission becomes more important than ever. With the fate of the American Revolution in her hands and one of the conspirators hot on her trail, Anna races to deliver a message of warning to Valley Forge before it’s too late. Based on events in the life of the author’s sixth-great-grandmother.

His Review:

The best spies and couriers are those that are invisible or fade into the background. Women during the Revolutionary War were almost invisible and considered only good for cooking, cleaning, and childbearing. It is almost unheard of to have a woman leaving her home, let alone ride hundreds of miles to deliver messages to the patriotic armies.

Answering Liberty's Call by Tracy LawsonThe nearly criminal ineptitude of those individuals tasked with supplying arms and foodstuffs to our troops is unbelievable. Congress and others tasked with supporting the army were, at times, grossly and criminally negligent in the prosecution of their duties. Wagons full of clothing, munitions, and food stuffs were often abandoned along the road or kept in warehouses without a thought to distribution. Men starving at Valley Forge without proper food or clothing were enduring this due to the quartermaster’s inefficiency and neglect.

Her husband and some of Anna’s brothers were in Valley Forge where they were wounded or killed. Anna cannot stand by and watch the carnage continue. Benjamin Harrison asks her to take an encoded message to General Washington in Valley Forge. She leaves her children with family and sets out on the journey from Virginia to Valley Forge in Pennsylvania.

Both Tories and Loyalists are against the Revolution and are supporting King George the Third and his armies. General Gates is openly opposing General Washington. Congress barely voted to have Washington be the Commander in Chief and Gates feels he is more qualified. Since many military commissions were bought rather than earned, the conflict was ever present. Meanwhile, Washington had proved himself with a successful career in the French/Indian War among other conflicts. Anna is ruthlessly pursued by the enemy throughout her ride.

CE WilliamsThe exploits of Benedict Arnold are well known but Anna Stones’ contributions were nearly lost to history. Thanks to Ms. Lawson for the extensive research and tenacious enthusiasm for the truth. Anyone who enjoys and embraces history will find this book engaging and entertaining as well as informed. 5 stars – CE Williams

We received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are his honest opinions and we are looking forward to Book 2. 

Book Details:

Genre: Military Historical Fiction, War Fiction, US Historical Fiction
Publisher: Gray Lion Books
ASIN:  B09VLLD67C
Print Length: 340 pages
Publication Date: March 29, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Answering Liberty’s Call [Amazon]

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Tracy Lawson - authorThe Author: Once upon a time, Tracy Lawson was a little girl with a big imagination who was obsessed with telling stories. Her interests in dance, theatre, and other forms of make-believe led to a twenty-five-year career in the performing arts, where “work” means she gets to do things like tap dance and choreograph musicals.

Though teaching dance and choreographing shows was a great outlet for her creativity and boundless energy, Tracy never lost her desire to write. Faced with her only child leaving for college and her husband’s simultaneous cross-country job relocation, it seemed she’d found the perfect time to switch her focus.

[truncated—please read her author’s page to read her full bio.]

Her two most recent works are historical fiction. The main character in The Red Thread (2021) co-authored with Rebekah Pace, is a Holocaust survivor who, after living an unfulfilled life, reconnects with his lost sweetheart in dreams, becomes convinced she is alive–and sets out on an epic journey to find her.

Answering Liberty’s Call (2021) set during the winter of 1778, is based on events in the lives of Tracy’s 6x great grandparents. When Anna Stone hears of the privations at Valley Forge that threaten her soldier husband and brothers, she sets out alone on horseback with supplies. Along the way, she is swept up in the events of a conspiracy to remove General Washington from the commander in chief post, and risks her life to carry a message warning the general of the plot.

Tracy, who is married with one grown daughter and two spoiled cats, splits her time between Dallas, Texas and Columbus, Ohio.

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Chill--It's Sunday

The Last House on the Street: A Novel by Diane Chamberlain –#BookReview – Women’s Historical Fiction

Rosepoint Rating: Five Stars 5 stars 

Book Blurb:

1965

The Last House on the Street by Diane ChamberlainGrowing up in the well-to-do town of Round Hill, North Carolina, Ellie Hockley was raised to be a certain type of proper Southern lady. Enrolled in college and all but engaged to a bank manager, Ellie isn’t as committed to her expected future as her family believes. She’s chosen to spend her summer break as a volunteer helping to register black voters. But as Ellie follows her ideals fighting for the civil rights of the marginalized, her scandalized parents scorn her efforts, and her neighbors reveal their prejudices. And when she loses her heart to a fellow volunteer, Ellie discovers the frightening true nature of the people living in Round Hill.

2010

Architect Kayla Carter and her husband designed a beautiful house for themselves in Round Hill’s new development, Shadow Ridge Estates. It was supposed to be a home where they could raise their three-year-old daughter and grow old together. Instead, it’s the place where Kayla’s husband died in an accident—a fact known to a mysterious woman who warns Kayla against moving in. The woods and lake behind the property are reputed to be haunted, and the new home has been targeted by vandals leaving threatening notes. And Kayla’s neighbor Ellie Hockley is harboring long buried secrets about the dark history of the land where her house was built.

Two women. Two stories. Both on a collision course with the truth–no matter what that truth may bring to light–in Diane Chamberlain’s riveting, powerful novel about the search for justice.

My Review:

I am still gasping, trying to calm the emotions this novel rammed home. So much going on in my country, still shaking my head at the ignorance, wallowing in our own problems of 1965—the CE trying to graduate prior to being drafted (and sure to be sent to ‘Nam if he was). But my operation took him out of school and changed the trajectory of our lives; our upheaval cocooned in California was far from the events of the south. We only got a small taste of what that meant (and was appalled) when he was sent by the Navy to Pensacola, Florida for training in ’66.

This narrative divides into a dual timeline: 1965 and 2010. In 1965, Ellie, an idealistic, privileged white coed full of righteous indignation defied her family, her boyfriend, and her town by joining a Civil Rights crusade called SCOPE (Summer Community Organization and Political Education Project) volunteering to spend the summer living with Black host families so the members could contact one on one local families to educate them on the importance of registering to vote. Something long awaited, their right to vote, hanging on President Lyndon B Johnson’s signing of the Voting Rights Act.

The mission is dangerous; seriously dangerous.

“I wasn’t just moving from one town to another. I was moving from one world to another…”

The Last House on the Street by Diane ChamberlainIn 2010, Kayla has just lost her husband in a house they designed together on an exclusive end lot surrounded by trees. It’s ready for her and her small daughter to move in. She should be excited. The home is gorgeous, the first in newly created Shadow Ridge Estates, Round Hill NC, only a much older home on the same lane the owner having refused to sell to the developer. She views her new home with dread but has no alternative but to occupy.

It’s not long before she is confronted with shocking circumstances, innuendo, gossip regarding the lot, dark history of the area. Then she meets Ellie, now 65 living temporarily in the old home up the street who is caring for a terminally ill brother and elderly mother. She isn’t happy being back after living in San Francisco for decades.

The author alternates between first person accounts of the experiences of Ellie working to gain registered voters and that of the more contemporary Kayla trying to make sense of what is happening with her new home. The accounts as related by Ellie brings to life the circumstances of those she encounters, the friendships, social injustice, racial prejudice, and eventually forbidden love. Unthinkable then, interracial relationship. The reader is fed small impressions and stories regarding Ellie’s motivations.

Prejudices, suspicions, terrorist activities by the KKK spreading hate. The atmosphere is alive with tension, static, dread. A horrible time in our history.

The 1965 accounts are electric, pervasive, and lead the frank, mind-blowing plot. Gradually, the two main characters stories merge, peeling away minute reveals, building tension, heartbreak, fear. The descriptions of the window dominated house clashes wildly with the dark, invasive moss-covered forest surrounding it.

The storytelling is immersive, impactful, tragic. It’s a tough read and one that will play over again in your mind for some time to come. I highly recommend this novel, now on pre-order, and will be looking for other books by this author. I’m hooked.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through @NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts.

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Book Details:

Genre: Women’s Historical Fiction, Mothers & Children Fiction, Family Life Fiction
Publisher: St Martin’s Press
ISBN: ‎1250283175
ASIN: B092T7TFP2
Print Length: 346 pages
Publication Date: January 11, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo

Diane Chamberlain-authorThe Author: Diane Chamberlain is the New York Times, USA Today and (London) Sunday Times best-selling author of 27 novels. The daughter of a school principal who supplied her with a new book almost daily, Diane quickly learned the emotional power of story. Although she wrote many small “books” as a child, she didn’t seriously turn to writing fiction until her early thirties when she was waiting for a delayed doctor’s appointment with nothing more than a pad, a pen, and an idea. She was instantly hooked.

Diane was born and raised in Plainfield, New Jersey and lived for many years in both San Diego and northern Virginia. She received her master’s degree in clinical social work from San Diego State University. Prior to her writing career, she was a hospital social worker in both San Diego and Washington, D.C, and a psychotherapist in private practice in Alexandria, Virginia, working primarily with adolescents.

More than two decades ago, Diane was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, which changed the way she works: She wrote two novels using voice recognition software before new medication allowed her to get back to typing. She feels fortunate that her arthritis is not more severe and that she’s able to enjoy everyday activities as well as keep up with a busy travel schedule.

Diane lives in North Carolina with her significant other, photographer John Pagliuca, and their odd but lovable Shetland Sheepdog, Cole.

Please visit Diane’s website at http://www.dianechamberlain.com for her event schedule and for more information on her newest novel, Big Lies in a Small Town, as well as a complete list of her books.

©2021 V Williams – V Williams

Holiday Reads

Indigo by Paula Berinstein – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Book Blurb:

What would you do if you suddenly found yourself mistress of an 18th-century plantation?

Indigo by Paula BerinsteinEsther Rubens is looking forward to getting to know her new community in South Carolina and repairing her troubled marriage. But as soon as she arrives in Charleston her life begins to diverge from the idyllic picture in her mind. Her physicist husband, Melvin, is arrested for driving while black, she inherits a strange English property from a cousin she didn’t know existed, and she learns that her great-grandmother Sophie, a brilliant scientist kidnapped by the Nazis, discovered the secret of time travel of all things.

Intrigued by Sophie’s cryptic journal Melvin begins to experiment with time travel, but his anger at the police makes him careless. The process backfires, killing him and throwing Esther back to 1750. Attacked by an unknown assailant the moment she arrives, she seeks protection at an indigo plantation belonging to a dashing planter with a dangerous secret, negotiating a deal that guarantees her safety. But she soon realizes she’s made a terrible mistake. What she discovers on the plantation is far more horrific than anything she could have imagined.

Overwhelmed, she attempts to flee just as the planter’s mysterious, handsome brother arrives from England seeking refuge-and offering an opportunity that’s too compelling to turn down. But can he be trusted? And are the two of them strong enough to vanquish the evil that’s pervading the lowlands? Only time will tell.

The first title in the Indigo series.

My Review:

Not the first time I’ve read a time travel romance, but must admit this one is a bit different.

Indigo by Paula BerinsteinEsther and Melvin, a mixed race couple move from California to South Carolina. Their relationship had become strained and after he is offered a prestigious position at a university, they jump at the chance to start anew. She accepts a librarian position at the same institution—but he becomes increasingly unhappy.

Esther inherits an English property from a distant, unknown cousin in England, and she makes the trip to inspect the crumbling estate coming home with her great-grandmother Sophie’s well-documented personal and scientific journal.

Sharing with Melvin that Sophie’s journal had chronicled a time travel experiment, Melvin jumps at the chance to travel with her, but something goes terribly wrong and he is killed in the same incident in which she discovers herself in 1750 South Carolina, the victim of an attack. She is rescued by indigo plantation owner Daniel Peacock and following a period of recovery from the attack, agrees to marry Daniel in a bid to give him credibility and she time to figure out how to find the time portal and return to her own century. Then she meets his brother, Jesse. (All bets are off.)

Okay, so far. Now it’s going to turn complicated, and the storyline becomes complex adding multi-layers to the plot. There is the plight of the slaves, the barbarism of the eighteenth century. Issues run from racism, anti-Semitism, hidden agendas, treachery, and conflict.

Esther’s character is empathetic to her surroundings, she’s smart, educated, and eager to right wrongs. Daniel is a greedy and vile character, unpredictable, greedy, and narcissistic. Jesse is soft-spoken, gorgeous, and hot. (Guess who becomes the romantic partner.)

The twists start coming and eventually introduce a thread to twentieth century Nazis. Huh? The twists, threads, storyline becomes overwhelming and begins to require a comprehensive score sheet. Threads are introduced, then put on the back-burner and forgotten until some time later. Threads are left open-ended, perhaps to be picked up in a subsequent book of the new series, sympathetic characters fleshed and then sacrificed.

Added to the complexity is her drive to conceive and begin a family. (Well, okay, maybe these things can’t always be timed well, but…) The final twist in the conclusion is a douzy and I’ll bet you won’t see that one coming!

The author’s writing style is unique, picking up and utilizing colloquialism, modern slang, and unusual words possibly unfamiliar to a younger generation. It is a story that is being related in a one-on-one personal manner (writer to reader) with a lapse from time to time to involve eighteenth century diction. Also, there seemed to be a bit of contradiction, timeline problem, and edit misses.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and these are my honest thoughts.

Rosepoint Rating: Three point Five Stars 3 1/2 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Time Travel Romance, US Historical Fiction
Publisher: The Writing Show
ASIN: B084DC6VSS
Print Length: 399 pages
Publication Date: February 14, 2020
Source: Author request

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble

Paula Berinstein- authorThe Author: Paula Berinstein loves to ponder “what if” questions, which is why she writes so many different kinds of books. That’s what happens when you spend your life reading . . . and dreaming. She invites you to join her on her journeys of the imagination.

©2021 V Williams V Williams

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