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This Side of The River: A Novel by Jeffrey Stayton: A Book Review

This Side of The River: A Novel
Author: Jeffrey Stayton
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Nautilus
Release Date: February 15, 2015
Pages: 256
Source: This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: At the end of the Civil War, a group of young, angry Confederate widows band together, take up arms, and march north to Ohio intent to burn down the home of General William Tecumseh Sherman.

      My review: A group of Confederate widows are filled with hatred  against General Sherman for what his army had done to them. In order to satisfy their lust for revenge, they get together, grab their guns, and march north to Ohio to burn down General Sherman’s home. Their chosen ringleader is Captain Cat Harvey, a Texas Ranger with a dark side. When the widows start to see Cat Harvey’s sinister side, they soon begin to wonder what price they have to pay for their common cause.

     The story is told from many points of view from both genders male and female. But the main characters are the widows and their leader with Cat Harvey. At first, the widows are full of fire, hope,and happiness that they are marching north. They also admire their ringleader, Cat Harvey, for they fall in love with him and compete for his affections. Yet, the story takes a dark turn when they are abused by Cat Harvey. They feel ashamed of themselves and come to despise him. However, it is through Cat Harvey’s abuse that these women become stronger and are more of a sisterhood. They take care of each other and make their own decisions. I admire these women because they are tough-as-nails and men are proven to be fools for underestimating them.

     Cat Harvey is an interesting character. At first, he seems to be the hero in the story, but in actuality he is the villain. He is haunted by a dark past and doesn’t believe he can be redeemed. I really disliked his character, but I found him funny when he cross-dresses as a widow and wears clown make-up and rides an elephant. This is because he considers himself a widow of the cause because he has lost his wife and daughter.

     Overall, this book is filled with betrayal and revenge, but also friendship, hope, redemption and choices. This book questions the meaning of justice. The characters and setting are well-developed. The writing is lyrical and heart-breaking. There are some adults scenes in this book for there are graphic details about Captain Cat Harvey abuse of the widows. Yet I recommend this for fans of historical fiction and Civil Wars fans alike.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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