by Terry C. Pierce ‧ RELEASE DATE: June 15, 2020
This tale skillfully shows the complexities and bloodshed of three famous days in American history.
Awards & Accolades
A historical novel focuses on the Battle of Gettysburg from the perspective of the North.
Pierce begins this detailed work on June 27, 1863. It is the middle of the Civil War, and President Abraham Lincoln and his team in the White House want a change. The Rebels have invaded Pennsylvania. A wrong decision could very well lead to an attack on the nation’s capital. A messenger is dispatched to the front lines to tell Gen. George Meade that he is the new head of the Army of the Potomac. Meade is a West Point graduate and career soldier, though he has some doubts that he is the right one to command so many men. He lacks the charisma of more well-liked generals and is known for his hot temper. But orders are orders. Meade is soon at the helm of what will be remembered as the bloodiest engagement of the Civil War. The narrative follows Meade and a few other characters on the Union side as they fight the enemy, the oppressive summer heat, and problems in their own ranks. Perhaps the biggest thorn in Meade’s side is Maj. Gen. Daniel Sickles. Although Sickles thinks quite highly of himself, Meade has quite the opposite opinion. Sickles, who has political connections and was once acquitted of killing his wife’s lover, presents a major problem on the battlefield when he decides to place his troops in a foolhardy position. Yet even when Sickles must exit the battle with a wounded leg, there are still lots of pounding artillery, infantry charges, and Rebel yells to fill the once-tranquil Pennsylvania landscape.
The book deftly outlines the enormous task that lay before Meade. From the difficulties of simply communicating to his troops to men like Sickles who might decide to do what they wanted regardless of orders, leading the Union forces in a major engagement is certainly no cakewalk. Not to mention that Meade takes command mere days before the epic battle. And those are just the logistical problems. The tale effectively depicts how even a general like Meade has plenty to fear from enemy fire, as when a shell bursts near a group of officers, “raining down steel fragments.” But not all of the details are quite as informative. Meade and others, as one could imagine, have a penchant for coffee. Yet readers need not care how a private “poured a steaming cup” and how “Meade’s cook walked onto the porch and handed Meade a cup of coffee.” Such moments lengthen an already sprawling novel without supplying much substance. Meanwhile, opportunities for providing more depth are missed. For example, much is made of the many participants in the war who are West Point graduates. But what might West Point have been like in the 1800s? Why do some leave the school with a sense of duty while others see fit to break their “solemn oath to protect and honor the Republic”? Nevertheless, the novel delivers an astute angle from which to consider the crucial events of those deadly days in July. In the end, Meade, a figure often overshadowed by other heroes, has a lot to tell readers.This tale skillfully shows the complexities and bloodshed of three famous days in American history.
Pub Date: June 15, 2020
Page Count: 788
Publisher: Heart Ally Books
Review Posted Online: July 7, 2020
Review Program: Kirkus Indie
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by Mitch Albom ‧ RELEASE DATE: Nov. 14, 2023
A captivating allegory about evil, lies, and forgiveness.
Truth and deception clash in this tale of the Holocaust.
Udo Graf is proud that the Wolf has assigned him the task of expelling all 50,000 Jews from Salonika, Greece. In that city, Nico Krispis is an 11-year-old Jewish boy whose blue eyes and blond hair deceive, but whose words do not. Those who know him know he has never told a lie in his life—“Never be the one to tell lies, Nico,” his grandfather teaches him. “God is always watching.” Udo and Nico meet, and Udo decides to exploit the child’s innocence. At the train station where Jews are being jammed into cattle cars bound for Auschwitz, Udo gives Nico a yellow star to wear and persuades him to whisper among the crowd, “I heard it from a German officer. They are sending us to Poland. We will have new homes. And jobs.” The lad doesn’t know any better, so he helps persuade reluctant Jews to board the train to hell. “You were a good little liar,” Udo later tells Nico, and delights in the prospect of breaking the boy’s spirit, which is more fun and a greater challenge than killing him outright. When Nico realizes the horrific nature of what he's done, his truth-telling days are over. He becomes an inveterate liar about everything. Narrating the story is the Angel of Truth, whom according to a parable God had cast out of heaven and onto earth, where Truth shattered into billions of pieces, each to lodge in a human heart. (Obviously, many hearts have been missed.) Truth skillfully weaves together the characters, including Nico; his brother, Sebastian; Sebastian’s wife, Fannie; and the “heartless deceiver” Udo. Events extend for decades beyond World War II, until everyone’s lives finally collide in dramatic fashion. As Truth readily acknowledges, his account is loaded with twists and turns, some fortuitous and others not. Will Nico Krispis ever seek redemption? And will he find it? Author Albom’s passion shows through on every page in this well-crafted novel.A captivating allegory about evil, lies, and forgiveness.
Pub Date: Nov. 14, 2023
Page Count: 352
Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023
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by Susan Mallery ‧ RELEASE DATE: May 31, 2022
A book begging to be read on the beach, with the sun warming the sand and salt in the air: pure escapism.
Three woman who join together to rent a large space along the beach in Los Angeles for their stores—a gift shop, a bakery, and a bookstore—become fast friends as they each experience the highs, and lows, of love.
Bree is a friendly but standoffish bookstore owner who keeps everyone she knows at arm’s length, from guys she meets in bars to her friends. Mikki is a settled-in-her-routines divorced mother of two, happily a mom, gift-shop owner, and co-parent with her ex-husband, Perry. And Ashley is a young, very-much-in-love bakery owner specializing in muffins who devotes herself to giving back to the community through a nonprofit that helps community members develop skills and find jobs. When the women meet drooling over a boardwalk storefront that none of them can afford on her own, a plan is hatched to divide the space in three, and a friendship—and business partnership—is born. An impromptu celebration on the beach at sunset with champagne becomes a weekly touchpoint to their lives as they learn more about each other and themselves. Their friendship blossoms as they help each other, offering support, hard truths, and loving backup. Author Mallery has created a delightful story of friendship between three women that also offers a variety of love stories as they fall in love, make mistakes, and figure out how to be the best—albeit still flawed—versions of themselves. The men are similarly flawed and human. While the story comes down clearly on the side of all-encompassing love, Mallery has struck a careful balance: There is just enough sex to be spicy, just enough swearing to be naughty, and just enough heartbreak to avoid being cloying.A book begging to be read on the beach, with the sun warming the sand and salt in the air: pure escapism.
Pub Date: May 31, 2022
Page Count: 352
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Review Posted Online: March 15, 2022
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2022
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