Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Shenandoah Spy: Being the True Life Adventures of Belle Boyd, CSA, the "Confederate Cleopatra"

Francis Hamit

Historical fact-based fiction about the famous spy who played a key role in Stonewall Jackson's Valley Campaign.  This narrative take place between July 1861 and July 1862 and is the first in a series about the Confederate Secret Service and the women who were its most effective agents.  Belle Boyd was the first woman in American History to be formally commissioned an army officer. 
My Take:

This was a tough book for me to get into initially, I have to admit, but once I finally got into it, it was definitely a page turner.  I found myself absolutely hating the main character right off the bat.  See, I'm a little biased because, while I know that the Civil War was not black and white and there were good and bad guys on both sides, my family were die hard abolitionists.  So hearing the main character rant about how much she hated Yankees and Abolitionists was a bit unnerving to me.  However, as I moved on I found myself not so much relating to Belle, but understanding her a bit more.  Where she grew up, slaves were treated quite well, she did not know just how abused plantation slaves were and therefore did not fully understand the evil of the institution.  Also, the only experiences she'd had early on with "Yankee's" (northerners) were bad, so I was able to more understand her blind hatred.  It freaked me out that she was able to use the people around her so easily, but I guess that is what made her a good spy.  Again, I still couldn't relate to her, but I started to respect her in some ways.  She was a very brave character, and while I don't know how much of the book was fact or fiction, I found her to be very entertaining to read about.  As far as the writing goes, the narration was pretty dang smooth and the pacing was good.  I felt the love scenes were very sudden and abrupt, almost cold, and therefore didn't appeal to me, but that was just personal preference.  All in all I felt the book was quite solid, and I am left with a considerable interest in the continuation of Belle's story in later books in the series.  3, Find a Used Book Store

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 R for brief strong language, sexual content and some violence.

***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 interested in purchasing The Shenandoah Spy, please consider supporting The Book Buff by purchasing from the following Amazon link, thank you!


1 comment:

Jenn said...

You know, that whole situation is difficult. Obviously slavery is/was a bad thing, but.... we are all victims of our life - our culture, our surroundings, and the preconceived notions passed to us from those around us... it's like learning the language. You learn what you are exposed to and everything else if foreign. It's hard and I think somebody tackling this topic from "the other side" was not only ambitious, but needed, to help humanize the entire situation. Thanks for the review.


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