Wednesday, April 3, 2013

{Review} Of Blood and Brothers: Book One by E. Michael Helms

ISBN #: 978-1938467516
Page Count: 282
Copyright: September 1, 2013
Publisher: Koehler Books

(Taken from back cover)

In the spring of 1927, ambitious cub reporter Calvin Hogue covers a family reunion in the Florida Panhandle. He learns two Malburn brothers fought on opposing sides during the Civil War, and encourages them to tell their stories. Before the night is over, Calvin realizes he has a far greater story than a run-of-the-mill family reunion.

Thus begins the first of many sessions with the Malburn brothers. The saga unfolds in their own words with wit, wisdom and sometimes, sadness. Before long the brothers are confronting troubled pasts and conjuring up ghosts laid buried throughout the long post-war years. Calvin is swept along by the harrowing eyewitness account of our nation's most trying era, through bloody battles, personal trials and losses, and the mutual love of a beautiful young woman.

The South surrenders, but the peace is far from won. Trouble stalks the Malburns in post-war Florida. Amid the violent days of Reconstruction, Daniel and Elijah face continuing conflict, family turmoil and heart-wrenching tragedy as they struggle toward a heard-earned and costly reconciliation.

Book One follows the exploits of Daniel Malburn and the 6th FL Infantry through the battles of Chickamauga and Lookout Mountain/Missionary Ridge. While working at the salt works along St. Andrew Bay, Elijah is taken prisoner by Union forces. Faced with imprisonment, he reluctantly chooses to join the 2nd US FL Cavalry as a scout, only to learn he must lead a destructive raid on the Econfina Valley - his lifelong home.

Charlene's Review:

Calvin Hogue, a reporter for the St. Andrew Pilot, is given an assignment to cover the Malburn family reunion, and the unique story of the two brothers that fought on opposite sides during the Civil War. Daniel and Elijah Malburn have very different stories to tell, of the War itself, and of their part in it. As Calvin meets with them, a complicated story of family, love, and betrayal emerges.

As I closed the pages of this book I was deeply saddened. Of Blood and Brothers is a powerful novel that gives the reader a glimpse into the Civil War, its time period, and its people, while covering the delicate politics of the era, such as slavery and secession with disarming humility.

This is an expertly written novel full of history and southern influence. Depictions of battle are graphic and realistic without being overwhelming, and the southern voice of the characters, and manner of speech are impeccable. Elijah and Daniel felt real to me. I became totally engrossed in the storyline, and could only find one fault: I have to wait until next March to find out what happens next.

5 out of 5 stars!

*A physical copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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