First Line Friday: General Meade

Welcome to First Line Friday,

hosted by Hoarding Books.

Today’s featured quote is taken from an Advance Reading Copy and may differ from the published text.

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When Smith Publicity offered to send me an Advance Reading Copy of General Meade: A Novel of the Civil War by Robert Kofman to feature on my Instagram account, I hesitated, but the cover and the promise of learning about a little-known-to-me Civil War General and I quickly accepted.  So there I was, second-guessing what I thought had been a yes to a 500+ page work of non-fiction, when it arrived and it was immediately clear that I had somehow missed an important word: novel.

Not a typical book to share for First Line Friday – or so you might think.  But early on there are important elements to this story of a deeply held love and of a faith that sees him through.  Now I’m over midway through what may be the longest historical fiction novel I read this year, and I am so fascinated that other books are sitting unfinished so that I can focus on General Meade.

Here’s the synopsis that drew me in:

As the civil war raged on, President Lincoln desperately sought a commander to defeat the seemingly invincible Confederate general, Robert E. Lee, whose army had invaded Pennsylvania. Lincoln turned to the Old Snapping Turtle, General George Meade—a courageous man with remarkable integrity and a fiery temper—to save the Union during its greatest time of need.

Just three short days after taking command, General Meade confronts Lee’s army at Gettysburg, resulting in the bloodiest and most dramatic battle of the war. Delivering a glorious victory, at first heralded as a hero who turned the tide of the war, General Meade falls victim to a nefarious smear campaign that threatens to ruin his reputation and his career. The general is forced to muster all of his strength to persevere against an onslaught of political and newspaper attacks, all while leading the Army of the Potomac and serving his superiors: General Ulysses S. Grant and President Lincoln.

In General Meade, readers will be struck with how contemporary the themes are, a country so divided by a contentious social issue – slavery – that it fights a civil war. There are polarized political parties, partisan newspaper attacks, false news stories, war heroes and villains, a controversial President leading the country through a crisis, leaked Congressional testimony and an unscrupulous Congressional Committee out to destroy the careers of generals who don’t share its political ideology.

And here are the first lines:

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First Line Friday and Tour Review: Beauty in Flight by Robin Patchen

Welcome to First Line Friday,

hosted by Hoarding Books.

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I wasn’t going to sign up for the Just Read Tours tour for the Beauty in Flight series by Robin Patchen, but then I read the descriptions of the first book, Beauty in Flight, and the premise intrigued me.  A young woman, now an ex-con and trying to lead a better life and not repeat the mistakes of her past by becoming involved with the wrong man.

BeautyInFlight_patchen_flf Continue reading

Don’t Close Your Eyes: A Silly Bedtime Story by Bob Hostetler, Illustrated by Mark Chambers (board book review)

dontcloseyoureyes_tommynelsonBedtime books with a sweet or cute story and adorable, cuddly animals hold such an appeal.  Add in a story that is also silly, and this is sure to be a hit, with the reverse psychology potential of the “don’t close your eyes” refrain.

As the illustrations move through the countryside, the reader encounters different animal families, from owls, to squirrels, to foxes and horses. Continue reading

Flights of Fancy by Jen Turano (review)

flightsoffancy_turano_bhp.jpgJen Turano’s Flights of Fancy, the first in her new American Heiresses series,, has me a bit stymied.  I’ve tried to write a review several times but end up trashing them all.  You see, it’s a bit hard to describe concisely, and difficult not to tell too much (or everything).  But even thinking about the story of New York heiress Isadora Delafield who, disguised as “Izzy Delmont,” appears at Glory Manor just outside of small town Canonsburg, Pennsylvania in answer to an ad for a housekeeper only to be greeted by a shotgun, has me smiling. Continue reading

First Line Friday: Katherine Wentworth

Welcome to First Line Friday,

hosted by Hoarding Books.

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I’ve just begun reading the 1964 novel Katherine Wentworth by D.E. Stevenson (Mrs. Dorothy Emily Peploe), and it is quickly clear that everything I love about her earlier novels (this was her 34th) is still there.  I am loving the writing, the descriptions, the gentle flow of the story, the obliviousness of the narrator when it comes to a man being in love with her… Good thing there is a second novel, The Marriage of Katherine, hinting that she eventually gets a clue.

Here’s the book description:

Katherine has married at nineteen and has had four years of happiness before her beloved Gerald dies and she is left to bring up a stepson, Simon, and her own little twins on a very inadequate income.

She has known what it is to be loved and cherished, and now that she has lost her Gerald, all she wants is freedom and independence to bring up Gerald’s children as he would have liked.

In the case of Simon the task is not easy, for an unexpected letter offers him a very different sort of life with wide horizons. What would Gerald have wanted for his son? The situation is further complicated by a group of young people who rebel against the boredom and frustrations of modern life and find an outlet for their pent-up feelings in mischief.

Katherine is worn out with worries and difficulties and scarcely knows which way to turn; but a restful holiday in the Scottish Highlands restores her zest for living. Colours look brighter, food tastes delicious, and every day is a new pleasure. And it is only then that she begins to realise that independence is not as important as love.

And here is the first paragraph, all one sentence, from Chapter One:

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