In 1861, 16-year-old Joe Roberts leads a mundane life as far as he's concerned. His world spins in the same circle each day: working at his family's store, taking his sisters on boyish escapades, and bickering with his rogue of a cousin, Lucas. Joe can't understand why his mother allows Lucas to live and work with them after all the pain he caused their family.
When war is declared, Joe is quick to join up and become a soldier with the 11th Pennsylvania Volunteers, but war is nothing like he imagined. To make matters worse, he must endure having Lucas in the same regiment.
Can Joe put the pain of the past behind him? Forgiveness is easier said than done.
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A Marvelous Performance of a Civil War Tale
I loved how well the writing and the narration complemented each other, offering a vivid glimpse into the Civil War era and the main characters' various reactions to the war.
Perhaps one of the more memorable sequences is when Joe signs up to join the war. Joe and the crowds in town are so jubilant, in direct contrast to his mother and sister's response. Those scenes give a broad glimpse at the North's confidence and belief that the war would be over quickly, while showing how hard it must have been for families to let their boys march off to battle.
I haven't listened to any of Guyon's other performances - and, sadly, I haven't seen any other audiobooks narrated by him. But I would definitely be interested in hearing more of his work!
Yes and no. I think it's easier to appreciate and savor a story when you experience it in bits and pieces over a period of time. And the fact that this story is divided into a lot of quick scenes does make it easier to find good stopping places. Of course, the short scenes can also flow into each other, making it just as easy to keep going! I think I savored the first half of the book and might have enjoyed the second half more if I had taken more time and paid greater attention, listening through without as many pauses and distractions.
I was truly impressed with the presentation of this story as an audiobook! The narrator did a phenomenal job, even singing songs from the American Civil War era a capella (and pulling it off quite wonderfully!). This is a well-researched tale, one that provides an endearing glimpse into a family struggling to find themselves and understand one another through the difficulties of war. In a little over three hours, it's like experiencing an epic play outside the theater. All you need to do is pause halfway through for an intermission. :) *With thanks to the author for providing me with a complimentary audiobook download in exchange for my honest opinion.*
- Amber Stokes