Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Next book

HARPER'S SHILOH

From the Shiloh Trilogy series , Vol. 3

An appropriate and high-stakes conclusion to a Civil War saga.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Lt. James Harper and his men are thrown into one of the bloodiest battles in the American Civil War in this, the final volume in Gabhann’s trilogy of historical novels.

Lt. Harper has finally rejoined his First Iowa Volunteers, along with Corp. Gustav Magnusson and nurse (and erstwhile prostitute) Katie Malloy. His new assignment—assistant quartermaster—is once again unbecoming to the highly experienced former deputy federal marshal, prison escapee, and spy for Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. It’s campaign season, and the Union Army has pushed deep into Tennessee. After a surprise promotion to captain—which seems to displease most of the men in his battalion—Harper is placed in an administrative position that he hopes, as ever, to parlay into a battle command. Luckily for him, the proximity of the enemy means he doesn’t have to wait long. Magnusson is in a wheelchair after injuries he sustained helping Katie flee her brothel, which prevents him from riding with his skirmishers. He’s beginning to wonder whether rescuing Katie was worth all the trouble. Katie is glad to be free but still terrified of reprisal from her old colleagues. As Harper and Magnusson chafe against their new roles, the inevitable conflict with the nearby Rebel soldiers—who have already drawn Union blood—looms on the horizon, threatening to shatter whatever temporary safety they have found. Gabhann writes with his typical blend of blood, grit, and wry humor: “Silence filled the tent punctuated by the rumble of the distant canons. It was times like these that war seemed surreal to Harper—how the movements and assaults of thousands of men could be understood and planned by three men hunched over a map.” The author writes well about battle, and the novel plays to that strength. Furthermore, the final storylines for Harper and his companions provide the necessary emotional context for the conflict, as well as supplying satisfying conclusions to their character arcs. While the pacing occasionally bogs down, particularly in the book’s first half, this is the strongest novel in the trilogy.

An appropriate and high-stakes conclusion to a Civil War saga.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-7343974-4-4

Page Count: 383

Publisher: Natchez Trail Press

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2020

Categories:

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 177


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

Next book

THE WOMEN

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 177


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

A young woman’s experience as a nurse in Vietnam casts a deep shadow over her life.

When we learn that the farewell party in the opening scene is for Frances “Frankie” McGrath’s older brother—“a golden boy, a wild child who could make the hardest heart soften”—who is leaving to serve in Vietnam in 1966, we feel pretty certain that poor Finley McGrath is marked for death. Still, it’s a surprise when the fateful doorbell rings less than 20 pages later. His death inspires his sister to enlist as an Army nurse, and this turn of events is just the beginning of a roller coaster of a plot that’s impressive and engrossing if at times a bit formulaic. Hannah renders the experiences of the young women who served in Vietnam in all-encompassing detail. The first half of the book, set in gore-drenched hospital wards, mildewed dorm rooms, and boozy officers’ clubs, is an exciting read, tracking the transformation of virginal, uptight Frankie into a crack surgical nurse and woman of the world. Her tensely platonic romance with a married surgeon ends when his broken, unbreathing body is airlifted out by helicopter; she throws her pent-up passion into a wild affair with a soldier who happens to be her dead brother’s best friend. In the second part of the book, after the war, Frankie seems to experience every possible bad break. A drawback of the story is that none of the secondary characters in her life are fully three-dimensional: Her dismissive, chauvinistic father and tight-lipped, pill-popping mother, her fellow nurses, and her various love interests are more plot devices than people. You’ll wish you could have gone to Vegas and placed a bet on the ending—while it’s against all the odds, you’ll see it coming from a mile away.

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781250178633

Page Count: 480

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023

Next book

THE SWALLOWED MAN

A deep and grimly whimsical exploration of what it means to be a son, a father, and an artist.

A retelling of Pinocchio from Geppetto's point of view.

The novel purports to be the memoirs of Geppetto, a carpenter from the town of Collodi, written in the belly of a vast fish that has swallowed him. Fortunately for Geppetto, the fish has also engulfed a ship, and its supplies—fresh water, candles, hardtack, captain’s logbook, ink—are what keep the Swallowed Man going. (Collodi is, of course, the name of the author of the original Pinocchio.) A misfit whose loneliness is equaled only by his drive to make art, Geppetto scours his surroundings for supplies, crafting sculptures out of pieces of the ship’s wood, softened hardtack, mussel shells, and his own hair, half hoping and half fearing to create a companion once again that will come to life. He befriends a crab that lives all too briefly in his beard, then mourns when “she” dies. Alone in the dark, he broods over his past, reflecting on his strained relationship with his father and his harsh treatment of his own “son”—Pinocchio, the wooden puppet that somehow came to life. In true Carey fashion, the author illustrates the novel with his own images of his protagonist’s art: sketches of Pinocchio, of woodworking tools, of the women Geppetto loved; photos of driftwood, of tintypes, of a sculpted self-portrait with seaweed hair. For all its humor, the novel is dark and claustrophobic, and its true subject is the responsibilities of creators. Remembering the first time he heard of the sea monster that was to swallow him, Geppetto wonders if the monster is somehow connected to Pinocchio: “The unnatural child had so thrown the world off-balance that it must be righted at any cost, and perhaps the only thing with the power to right it was a gigantic sea monster, born—I began to suppose this—just after I cracked the world by making a wooden person.” Later, contemplating his self-portrait bust, Geppetto asks, “Monster of the deep. Am I, then, the monster? Do I nightmare myself?”

A deep and grimly whimsical exploration of what it means to be a son, a father, and an artist.

Pub Date: Jan. 26, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-18887-3

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

Close Quickview