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Author: R. Thomas Roe
Publisher: Signalman Publishing
Publication Date: October 2012
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 282
Buy: The Book Depository

Book Description: This historically based novel is a window into Alabama both before, during and after the Civil War. River Hunter is the son of a Cherokee mother and a Scotch-Irish father who has a unique perspective on a society that undergoes a radical shift forced on it by the War. River’s father is presumed dead after disappearing on a trapping trip into the mountains of the Carolinas, so, River’s mother gathers her children and they move to the cotton belt of Alabama to avoid being shipped west by President Jackson during the Removal time for Native Americans. River rapidly adapts to the new life and has an insatiable appetite for knowledge, reading books at every opportunity. In time he obtains a formal education at recognized academies and universities. Following his heroic service in the Confederate Army during the Civil War and schooling at one of the nation’s most prestigious law schools, River becomes an attorney. He is then betrothed to a beautiful young woman who has inherited a substantial plantation upon the death of her husband in the War. Many problems plague the young couple from the forces existing in the South after the War to the prejudicial attitudes of River’s inlaws to the polarized politics between the newly freed Slaves and their former owners. This fascinating novel exams all sides within the context of a very unique segment of American history.

This book was anything but fascinating. I would like to say something nice about this book but I’m not sure that I can. I would like to thank JKS Communications for giving me a copy of this book and being so nice to work with. I’m sorry I didn’t enjoy this book.

The Writing: the writing style felt like it was a draft. It read as if it hadn’t been edited much at all. There was nothing special about it and often times the same phrase or idea was repeated throughout the book when it didn’t need to be. For example, the mention that River was half-Indian did not need more than maybe three mentionings. Yes we know he’s part Indian, and so does everyone else who looks at him. Also the author seemed to favor the word ‘basically’ in sentences that shouldn’t have used that word.

The Characters: River Hunter was such a flat character. He never changed at ALL throughout the entire book even though it spanned at least a decade if not more. He was also a Gary Sue in all sense of the phrase. This means that he had no flaws, everyone liked him and everything seemed to go right for him. I think the only thing that didn’t work out was the loss of his loved one. There was also mention that River had a special power or connection to animals. That he was the ‘chosen one’ of his people. I thought this was pretty cool, except this idea was never mentioned again. There was no point into bringing that up.

The Plot: frankly was rather boring. It just followed the life of River as he went through school, the war and then the aftermath. Now I’ve read books where it just follows the life of one character. But this was just so boring and it got to the point where I just no longer cared what happened to River Hunter.

The Setting: The book is supposed to be set before, during and after the Civil War. However I wasn’t convinced at all. It didn’t seem at all convincing that this was during the war. What bothered me the most was the dialogue. First off the dialogue wasn’t set in well with the text, in my opinion. It would just jump from description to lines of dialogue and then back. And the people in the book talked like they were in the 21st century! The time throughout the book was also hard to follow. There would be times when it would jump ahead three years in advance with no notice. One instance was mention of Sarah’s child who was three (which was stated) and then two lines later it said that the child was going to be turning eight soon. WHERE DID THOSE FIVE YEARS GO.

Overall: I really did not like this book. There was nothing about it that I liked. What baffles me though is that this book got 5 star reviews on Amazon. I don’t see what those people liked about this book. Maybe I’m missing something. But I don’t ever want to read this book or anything else by this author again.

My Rating: .5 stars