Monday, September 24, 2012

Shades of Gray: A Novel of the Civil War In Virginia

Click HERE to order
Ha. Thought this was gonna be about the OTHER Shades of Gray didn't you? I haven't read about the 50 of them, but I read this one with absolute and total immersion. I was captivated, mesmerized and I can honestly say that this was the only book that has brought me to tears, and certainly the first one that kept me that way for an entire chapter, in many years.

I am a sucker for Civil War tales. Especially those that are well-researched, well-written and have women in nontraditional and important roles. Jessica James provided all three in a beautiful tale of the passion that existed both in the front lines and behind the scenes. Although we believe that women today have crossed barriers to become active members of our armed forces, in fact those barriers were crossed over a century ago when hundreds of American women with allegiance to both Confederate and Union sides donned uniforms and fought alongside the men. The only difference in the armed forces today is that the women who choose that life don't have to bind their breasts, hide their sex and know that if they are found out they will be court martialed.

If you enjoy historical novels, if you read Gone With the Wind and wished it hadn't ended, then you will be as delighted as I was to delve into these pages. My own Civil War novel will be on the shelves very soon, and I can only hope that I portrayed my heroine as earnestly and with as much knowledge and passion as Jessica James brought to Shades of Gray. I am told that the book has also been re-released under the name Noble Cause, with a happier ending (although this was in print before 50 Shades of Gray, obviously the name similarity is troubling, and it's not fair to this book to share the same name).

The Amazon description:
Honor & conviction clash with loyalty & love in this award-winning romantic Civil War novel that pits brother against brother. This is the tale of Colonel Alexander Hunter, a dauntless and daring Confederate cavalry officer, who, with his band of intrepid outcasts, becomes a legend in the rolling hills of northern Virginia. Inspired by love of country and guided by a sense of duty and honor, Hunter must make a desperate choice when he discovers the woman he promised his dying brother he would protect is the Union spy he vowed to his men he would destroy. Readers will discover the fine line between friends and enemies when the paths of these two tenacious foes cross by the fates of war and their destinies become entwined forever. Author Jessica James uniquely blends elements of romantic and historical fiction in this deeply personal and poignant tale that, according to one reviewer, “transcends the pages to settle in the very marrow of the reader’s bones.” Winner of numerous national awards, James has received critical acclaim for this page-turning story of courage, honor, and enduring love. Destined for an honored place among the classics of the American Civil War, Noble Cause is a book to read, and keep, and remember forever.

On a humorous note, I had ordered this book for my Kindle and was surprised when I was asked by a friend if I had purchased Shades of Gray yet. I said yes. Wondering to myself "when did Melinda become an avid Civil War buff?" A few days later I read the reviews for the "other" book and realized how very worlds apart are the two. (I started reading the "other one" but it didn't capture my interest.)

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