3 out of 4 stars
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How did the North and South become united after the Civil War? How did families heal from the losses they suffered? Can these wounds be healed?
Ty volunteered to fight for the Confederates in the Civil War as a freeborn black man. After the Confederate Army surrendered at Vicksburg, Ty decided to leave Louisiana and begin a new life on the west coast. At the same time, Jack Donaldson, an expert marksman, joined the Union Army. Following the death of several of his friends, Jack requested his muster pay. He had sufficient funds to purchase a packhorse and a bay. He took his two horses and headed west. Eventually, the paths of these two former soldiers crossed. How will things work out for these two men who fought on opposite sides in the war? Will they share the same opinion about fighting the Indians? How will they find wives on this untamed frontier?
Flat Top Mountain Ranch: The Beginning is a historical fiction novel written by James E. Doucette. The story is set in the 1860s and incorporates many battles and events related to the Civil War. The narrative also described the life of cowboys and settlers as they traveled west. Readers learn about cattle branding, horse taming, cattle rustlers, and confrontations with the Indian tribes.
I enjoyed the author’s ability to stimulate readers to consider alternative consequences of life after the Civil War. How were families, divided by war, able to come together? The author included historical information about the plight of the Indian tribes as more settlers headed west. The narrative included unique friendships that make one reflect on the ability of people to forgive and accept each other as fellow human beings. The book branches into a bit of romance without any inappropriate scenes and soldiers and cowboys without any profanity.
The short chapters frustrated me and could have been consolidated without affecting the flow of the plot. There were some grammar errors, but most of these occurred as incorrect Spanish translations. Sensitive readers should be aware that the author does present the realities of war, battle wounds, and scalping.
I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. The author presented a unique perspective of the aftermath of the Civil War. The dialogues and descriptions carry readers back to the era described while inviting readers to consider how people reacted to the outcome of the Civil War. Readers interested in U.S. history, particularly the Civil War and the settling of the West, would enjoy this story. History teachers could integrate this book into their curriculum for middle and high school classes. This book would also open peoples’ minds to ways to heal racial divisions.
Flat Top Mountain Ranch -- the beginning
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