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Shades of Gray: A Novel of the Civil War in Virginia by Jessica James

October 29, 2008

Shades of Gray: A Novel of the Civil War in Virginia
Web site for Jessica James
Patriot Press; 1st edition, January ’08
468 pages
Historical fiction
Ms. James sent me this book, thank you.

Loved it ~ start to finish. I didn’t just read about the civil war I was there smack dab in the middle of it. The spying, the battles, the raids, the camps. The human drama, the camaraderie, the love, the lives hanging on the edge. This book has it all. The last 100-150 pages were intense, the last 50 pages heartbreaking, the last 20 pages I cried. I mean the tears were running down my face.

The passion between Andrea and Hunter is so explosive that I thought the book was going to catch on fire. The scenes where they argue and fight for their own beliefs and feelings about the war and why each is involved are intense and heated. I felt like I was in the room listening to these two worthy opponents do battle for themselves, their families, their homes and their country. As they slowly come to realize that what they feel for each other is beyond their control they surrender pieces of themselves to the other and cross battle lines.

For the time it took me to read this book I was transported back to those war years. I was there in the thick of it. I was riding my beloved horse across enemy lines to bring dispatches and information back to camp. I shared my days and nights with my fellow soldiers. I fought side by side with them. I stared the enemy in the eye. I worked to save their live and when I couldn’t I held them as they died. I shared stories of home and family as they read letters from loved ones. I cleverly played the part of spy whether I was a southern belle or disguised as a young man.

Any book that captivates me, absorbs me, captures my imagination is a good book indeed. Shades of Gray did all that. I recommend this book to any reader as it has something for everyone. Readers of historical fiction should especially enjoy it.

  1. October 29, 2008 12:26 pm

    Wow! That sounds like a great read. I grew up in Virginia (from ages 6 to 20), my husband’s family is in Virginia and our son goes to school in Virginia, so I bet the setting would be familiar to me. Do not send this book to me – my pile is teetering already.
    It a wonderful book and one of my favorites this year.

  2. Wendy Lower permalink
    October 30, 2008 7:21 am

    May I suggest you put this book on the top of your list. One of the best reads you’ll have this year, especially if you are familiar with the virginia countryside. The previous blogger is right on – the perfect Christmas gift for all readers!!!
    I’m hoping, and crossing fingers, that she’s writing another book because she’ll be one of those authors that put on my favorites list.

  3. October 30, 2008 9:13 am

    Marcia….Great review! I also have read Shades of Gray and will never forget the story or the love that was shared between Andrea and Hunter. I still think about the feisty Andrea and the handsome and brave Hunter. Ms. James certainly is adroit at capturing the passion of two opposing forces both on the battle field and off. I was captivated from cover to cover. Thanks for sharing your opinion. I totally agree. I also wrote a review, some time ago. I can’t wait for the next Jessica James novel. Shades of Gray is on my top 10 list of 2008.
    Wisteria @ Bookworms Dinner
    Thank you. It is a great book and I’m looking forward to more from this author.

  4. October 30, 2008 10:44 am

    Thanks for sharing this!

    You’re welcome.

  5. November 5, 2008 2:57 pm

    I want to thank Marcia for a great review and to tell everyone how much I appreciate their wonderful comments. Blessings!
    I’m looking forward to the guest post you’re writing and the giveaway we’re doing in December.

  6. November 6, 2008 8:33 am

    Oh wow! SO love CW fiction. This one is on my list to buy. Thanks!
    Jessica has offered a copy of her book for a mid-December giveaway over at Up For Grabs so be sure to stop by and check it out.

  7. ccmal permalink
    December 21, 2008 11:07 pm

    I’m only partway through this book and I can’t put it down. Jessica does such an excellent job in drawing the reader in that I actually cried at one point.

    This is a must read!


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