Thursday, July 22, 2010

Free Men and Dreamers Volume I: Dark Sky at Dawn

L.C. Lewis

It is a dangerous time for America. The years following the signing of the Constitution have been riddled with British aggressions aimed at breaking the will of the young government.


The divisive evils of greed, slavery, and class distinction cast a dark cloud over the promise "We the People," even as war talk rattles the governing halls. America declares a war to reconfirm her independence . . . a war to protect her "more perfect union:" The War of 1812.

Some believe a more divine purpose awaits the Union in the wake of this war. Such seekers are Jed Pearson, the sensitive heir to both a large plantation and a mysteriously tainted family heritage, and Hannah Stansbury, the visionary woman whose family holds the key to the Pearson riddle.

Treacherous forces on both shores seek to manipulate the war's outcome for their own purposes, ensnaring Jed and Hannah in dangerous intrigue during this pivotal moment in time when the ultimate definition of liberty is about to come to light.

Dark Sky At Dawn tells of the fascinating people, events, history, and spiritual reawakening that precede the compelling moment in time before the guns blazed and the light of the Restoration dawned on a new day.

My Take:

Dark Sky at Dawn was an absolute joy to read.  One of the most impressive aspects of the book was how much research was put in to create such an authentic feel.  I read so many books that it seems as if an author just woke up one day and thought "gee, I think I'll write about the Civil War", considering historical authenticity to be merely a minor detail.  Notice I say authenticity, not accuracy.  This book is a work of fiction, the characters are fiction, so some creative license is expected to insinuate these characters into a real historical period.  This is the delicate tightrope an author must balance, between creative license and authenticity--and L.C. Lewis does so magnificently.   Aside from the book being a wonderful period piece, there is a heart rending and beautiful love story going on between some of the main characters.  There was one detail where I felt the romance fell a bit short: anyone who reads or writes romance knows that a lot of the tension in a romance is created by miscommunication and mixed signals.  I felt as if Dark Sky at Dawn stretched the drama a little too far and may have had just one too many missed communication or mixed signal.  An aspect of the romance I did love was the unselfishness of the characters, and also the tenderness and friendship between them.  

The non-romantic relationships of the characters in the book were rich and complex as well.  Few people in the book are cut and dry simple characters of pure good or pure evil, there are many delicious layers to unwrap on each person, and so many stereotypes are broken.  I think this book is a great book to reach out to many different audiences.  There is great romance, great action, great history, and a great sprinkling of politics.  No one aspect overwhelms another, but instead creates a beautiful symphony of genres.  There is also some religion in the book, as the time period had great religious upheaval, but it is not pushy, cheesy, or overdone.  Overall I loved Dark Sky at Dawn and rate it a 2, Borders with a Coupon.  There were just a few things that held the book back from perfection, but stay tuned because I am loving this author and plan to review more of her books in the future and I wouldn't be surprised if there was a 1 in there somewhere :)

Do you agree with my review?  Do you think I'm totally off base?  Either way I'd love to hear from you, be sure to leave a comment and tell me how you feel!

If this book were a movie it would likely be rated PG for some violence and some description of grisly injuries (I flip flopped between a PG and PG-13 rating on this one, so keep that in mind, it is a bit heavy for a PG but didn't seem like there was enough to call it a PG-13 either)


A few words with the author, L.C. Lewis:

The Book Buff: When and why did you begin writing?

L.C. Lewis: I always loved to write. During my adolescence I wrote episodes of my favorite TV shows, dreaming they'd cast me to play a part in my own script!  I began writing seriously for a few reasons--I wanted to do something that would make my family proud of me for something other than my divine Sweet Rolls! I also wanted to pave the way for them to follow their own dreams. And I wanted to contribute to the family income. (Little did I know how little authors really bring in.) Two out of three isn't bad, right?

TBB: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

LCL: I learned so much about American history, and my research skills are so improved after six years of digging for facts. Also, one of the hardest things for a historical fiction author is knowing what to selectively neglect. There are so many wonderful details the author loves but the reader won't care about. We have to remember that we are writing for the readers, not to show off everything we've learned.

TBB: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

LCL: The series is set against the backdrop of the War of 1812 and it illustrates an amazing, but overlooked generation--the first American-born generation who are the children of the Founding Fathers and the heirs of this new nation. They are called to defend the very pillars of government their fathers put in place--the democracy, the Constitution, the Presidency, their entire way of life.

TBB: How much of the book is realistic?

LCL: The main characters are fictional but they interact with highly-researched historical figures and the action is written to exquisitely accurate detail. I've visited many of the places mentioned in the books, stomped through forts and battlefields, met with historians and read extensively.
   
TBB: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

LCL: Jane Austen and Nicholas Sparks. Both write rich, complex characters that get into the readers' hearts. You close the book and feel your sensibilities have been challenged.

TBB: Do you have any advice for other writers?

LCL: Well, I'd say you have to write for the love of it, and write about something you love and know, or at least write about something you love enough to learn about it. When you write you invite the reader to come along on a journey, and that invokes a certain trust. Break that trust with poor research, sloppy facts, weak writing, etc. and you will offend your readers and lose them.

Keep a writer's journal where you jot down interesting characters you see, great words you hear, interesting settings, unique conflict ideas, etc. Keep it handy and pull from it when you write.

Strengthen your core skills--vocabulary, semantics, punctuation, editing, grammar, etc. It will make the process so much less daunting.

Read a lot. You can learn so much about good writing and literary themes from reading well-written books.


If you are interested in learning more about L.C. Lewis, the Free Men and Dreamers series, or any of her upcoming projects, check out http://www.laurielclewis.com/


***FTC Disclosure:  This book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review, no other compensation was given, all opinions are my own***


If you are interest in purchasing Dark Sky at Dawn please consider supporting The Book Buff by purchasing from the following Amazon link, thank you!















Or you can purchase from Deseret Book from the following link: http://deseretbook.com/authors/author-info?author_id=41939

58 comments:

Lady Rynn said...

I'm always interested in reading books set during important points in history. I'm curious to see what stance the author will have the characters take, how the events will affect them and where it will take them. The War of 1812 isn't a time frame that is often covered in fiction novels and so I really want to see where this story goes. Not to mention loving history I just love finding entertaining and new ways to learn new facts about history. I really want to read this story!

Lady Rynn said...

I forgot my email address. ladyrynn21@hotmail.com

Lady Rynn said...

I am already a follower and I love that you pick all kinds of books to read & review. ladyrynn21@hotmail.com

Lady Rynn said...

I just commented on The Giver. Once again thank you for being so good about reviewing books in all genres! I've seen some book blogs who only review one type and its not really worth looking at for that reason. I like variety! ladyrynn21@hotmail.com

Lynette said...

A time in history when our country was being formed. To have a writer who can transport you to that time is such a talent. I would love to be able to share the story and the experience. Even if it is only in my mind.

By the way I am doing a week of giveaways at my place if your interested.

http://theysayimnuts.blogspot.com
lynette355@yahoo.com

Lynette said...

I also left a comment on the review of The Pack. Looking around to see what all you have to offer.

By the way I am doing a week of giveaways at my place if your interested.

http://theysayimnuts.blogspot.com
lynette355@yahoo.com

Julia said...

This books sounds right up my alley. I love historical fiction and have not read much around the turn of the 19th century. All of the different aspects interest me!

bambbles at gmail dot com

Kah Woei said...

Wow, great review! This sounds like a very interesting tale with equally fascinating characters.

windycindy said...

I like reading historical fiction that has been well researched!
Also, our family has talked a lot about the War of 1812 because it is
overlooked versus other wars.
Many thanks, Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

windycindy said...

"Tweet!"
http://twitter.com/cmh512/status/19316240384.
Many thanks to you!
Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

windycindy said...

I already follow you via Google
Friend Connect!
Merci, Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

windycindy said...

"Facebook Post!"
http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/cindi512?v=wall&story_fbid=145523822130359.
Again, many thanks...Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

windycindy said...

Also, I follow L.C. Lewis' Blog
via Google Friend Connect!
Thanks, Cindi
windycindy
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

windycindy said...

I have sent a request to be a
friend of L.C. on Facebook.
Merci beaucoup, Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

D. Avraham said...

davraham@davraham.com I love Historicals where one learns as much as one is entertained. Mentioning the amount of research he must have done to write the book help to sell me. Also, it's about a period of time between the revolution and the civil war which I know less about than other periods. I'm looking forward to reading the novel.

D. Avraham said...

forgot to mention, already a fan of book buff. davraham@davraham.com

Also shared this on FB page and tweeted the giveaway.

Words are the most powerful drug used by mankind. - Joseph Rudyard Kipling said...

I love the concept and want to read it--became a follower of your blog and twitted ithttp://twitter.com/amiblackwelder

touch-of-grace@hotmail.com

(+2)

Words are the most powerful drug used by mankind. - Joseph Rudyard Kipling said...

http://hotgossiphotreviews.blogspot.com/2010/07/book-giveaway.html

Blogged about the giveaway here and posted your button!

touch-of-grace@hotmail.com (+4)

Words are the most powerful drug used by mankind. - Joseph Rudyard Kipling said...

I followed his blog http://www.laurielclewis.blogspot.com/
and talked about it on facebook.
http://www.facebook.com/ami.blackwelder

touch-of-grace@hotmail.com
(+2)

Gail Pallotta said...

A salute to L.C. Lewis for writing such an interesting sounding and much needed book, and to you for letting everyone know about it.
Reading about how the second generation of our founders upheld and carried our country sounds fascinating.
pallotta at gailpallotta dot com

Danielle said...

I would love to read this book because I do not know much about the war of 1812 and I always like to learn about new things through reading! I am a follower. Email: everylastpage@hotmail.com

~ Babs ~ The World of book Reviews said...

This sounds like something I would like to read and I enjoyed reading the post.
Bhitwr@gmail.com

Amanda Drover said...

Great Blog! I put your button on my blog. I haven't made the button for mine yet but here is the link for my blog http://read-with-amanda.blogspot.com/

MommyJ said...

I love American History, and love historical fiction novels in general. I would love to read this book.

mommysnark@gmail.com

THRIFTY CANUCKS said...

What I find interesting about this book is the time period in which it takes place. I love historical novels, so I would love to win this

thriftycanucks@gmail.com

THRIFTY CANUCKS said...

tweeted
http://twitter.com/thriftycanucks/status/19827384854

thriftycanucks@gmail.com

THRIFTY CANUCKS said...

I have your button on my sidebar
http://www.thriftycanucks.blogspot.com/

thriftycanucks at gmail dot com

THRIFTY CANUCKS said...

I follow you on GFC as Thrifty Canucks

thriftycanucks at gmail dot com

THRIFTY CANUCKS said...

posted this on FB
http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/profile.php?id=1004773477&v=wall&story_fbid=138622439502815

thriftycanucks at gmail dot com

THRIFTY CANUCKS said...

As I said on another post, checked out your blog and I find that it has everything I need in a blog and honestly cannot think of a way to improve it

thriftycanucks at gmail dot com

THRIFTY CANUCKS said...

Commented on the Looking Like You review
thriftycanucks at gmail dot com

THRIFTY CANUCKS said...

I follow the Lewis blog on GFC as Thrifty Canucks
thriftycanucks at gmail dot com

THRIFTY CANUCKS said...

I sent a friend request on FB to the author
thriftycanucks at gmail dot com

Melanie L said...

I like reading historical fiction and have read many books that are about the Civil War, but never any that have to do with the War of 1812. I'm embarrassed to admit that although I've heard of it, I didn't know it was an American war. I'm interested to find out more about it.
peacelily_2006(at)yahoo(dot)com

Melanie L said...

I am a follower via GFC (Melanie L).
peacelily_2006(at)yahoo(dot)com

Carole Spring said...

I love reading well-researched historical fiction. Not only does that type of book provide enjoyable reading for me, but I always come away feeling that I have learned something about history - even though the book was fiction.
blondie_31971(at)yahoo(dot)com

Carole Spring said...

tweet: http://twitter.com/cspring31971/status/20203084974
blondie_31971(at)yahoo(dot)com

Liz said...

I would love to read this because I am a huge history buff! I have taken sooo many college class for history. I find it very fun. I love movies and books that take place in the mid 1700s to early 1900s. I swear I was born in the wrong time! =)

Liz said...

I am a new follower =)

Chrystal @ Happy Mothering said...

I am really into historical fiction. It makes learning about history so much more interesting!

happmothering at gmail dot com

Chrystal @ Happy Mothering said...

I follow on GFC as Happy Mothering

Frugal Science Gal said...

I am a new follower on GFC

frugalsciencegal [at] gmail [dot] com

Frugal Science Gal said...

I would actually want to win this for my cousin who is really into history (Fact or Fiction).

frugalsciencegal [at] gmail [dot] com

Judylynn said...

I love reading books about the Civil War. Very fascinating!

I would love to win this book! Thanks.

seizethebookblog(at)gmail(dot)com

Judylynn said...

I am a follower.

seizethebookblog(at)gmail(dot)com

Samantha said...

the historical aspect is the most interesting to me, being a history grad student :)
thanks!
kangabunnie@gmail.com

Samantha said...

new follower GFC
thanks!
kangabunnie@gmail.com

Hannah Kingsley said...

This book sounds interesting because of the time period, and I'm a history buff. :)

~ hannahemilyglenn@gmail.com

Ashley said...

I like reading books set in this time period.

hewella1 at gmail dot com

Holly said...

I'm a big fan of historical fiction. Try The Widow of the South -- another great story.

misskallie2000 said...

I love books that have the story line interwove with history. Your review was very good and the interview was enjoyable. This book is my kinda book. Adding to my wish list.
Thanks for the opportunity to enter.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

misskallie2000 said...

Tweeted giveaway
http://twitter.com/misskallie2000/status/21722825045

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

misskallie2000 said...

I am old follower via GFC

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

misskallie2000 said...

Became follower of L.C. Lewis' Blog
(misskallie2000)

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

misskallie2000 said...

Liked L.C. Lewis on FB and sent msg
(Brenda B. Hill)

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

The Book Buff said...

The giveaway is now closed!!!

Congratulations to Carole Springs and Thrifty Canucks!

I hope you enjoy the book :)

Priyeni said...

it sounds an interesting book especially as I'm interested in historically based novels - u say it is authentic & that's appealing.

barbjan10 said...

This book reveals important history with some fiction that undoubtedly will be a good read. I enjoy historical fiction where I can enjoy learning true facts in an entertaining way. I'd like to read this particular book. Thank you for the giveaway and the chance to win. I hope I do.

Blessings,
Barb Shelton
barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

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