Official Review: Flat Top Mountain Ranch -- the beginning

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kandscreeley
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Official Review: Flat Top Mountain Ranch -- the beginning

Post by kandscreeley »

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Flat Top Mountain Ranch -- the beginning" by James E Doucette.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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Ty Jones fought with the South in the Civil War, but he's done his time and is ready to move on. He's heading west and planning on starting his own ranch. Likewise, Jack Donaldson was in the Northern army. After seeing his two best friends die and being injured himself, he's leaving the army. He, also, wants to head west. When the two meet on the trail, they realize they have more in common than not and vow to join together to start their ranch. The West is still wild, though, and it's not going to be easy.

Flat Top Mountain Ranch: The Beginning by James E. Doucette is a historical fiction. There's some language and violence; therefore, I would recommend it only to high school age and older. In all other aspects, it's a light-hearted story that still manages to discuss some weightier topics like the uselessness of war and the plight of the Indians. Considering this, it could make for some good discussion.

The story was told in the third person, which was a good way to get multiple perspectives. It was always clear as to who was speaking, and I appreciated the well-organized narrative. In addition, this was one of the best edited books I've read in a while, as I found only one mistake in the book's entirety.

I most liked the historicity of the book. The battles are detailed without too much gore, and you can learn more about this time period in an interesting way. Real people and places are mentioned in the book, and it's clear that the author has done his research. Anyone curious about the Civil War and Indian resettlement should pick up this novel for a different viewpoint.

While the book was enjoyable to read, there was a depth that was lacking. Characters fell in love immediately without any development in the relationship. I felt little to no emotion when the war experiences were discussed. As mentioned above, the author clearly has a view on the Indian relocation, but it's not detailed in such a way as to make an impact. It was such a sad time in our history that I felt like this was a misstep by Mr. Doucette. Yet, it added to the lighter feel of the novel. It's a balancing act, but the author erred too much on the side of caution.

All in all, I'm appreciative of the opportunity to read the novel, but it fell flat in places. This is why I rate Flat Top Mountain Ranch: The Beginning 3 out of 4 stars. It's an interesting read that I would recommend to those that enjoy lighter historical fiction. According to the end of the book, it does look like we'll see more of Ty and Jack in a future novel. However, the book does stand alone, so there's not a need to worry about being forced to read a series. I am interested in seeing how Mr. Doucette continues to improve as a writer in the future.

******
Flat Top Mountain Ranch -- the beginning
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Post by Cynthia_Oluchi »

History fiction again? I really don't think it's a genre I so much admire, especially when it has some touch of violence. I wonder how it is that you felt no emotions reading about the war part of the story. Am glad you love the book anyway.

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Post by unamilagra »

This is a time period that I really enjoy reading about, but it sounds like this book maybe didn't do the heavy topics justice. Thank you for an insightful review!
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Post by kandscreeley »

Cynthia_Oluchi wrote:
20 Mar 2020, 14:20
History fiction again? I really don't think it's a genre I so much admire, especially when it has some touch of violence. I wonder how it is that you felt no emotions reading about the war part of the story. Am glad you love the book anyway.
It was still an interesting book, nonetheless. I do recommend it even if history isn't your genre. Thanks!
Good books, like good friends, are few and chosen; the more select, the more enjoyable.
-Louisa May Alcott

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Post by kandscreeley »

unamilagra wrote:
20 Mar 2020, 17:17
This is a time period that I really enjoy reading about, but it sounds like this book maybe didn't do the heavy topics justice. Thank you for an insightful review!
Yes, I think the heavy topics could have been presented in a more emotional way. Yet, it's still a fun book. Thanks.
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Post by Tavaiel26 »

This book seems like a good addition to our library. Sometimes you need to have a bit of softer historical fiction, and it's alright to enjoy the experience as long as we keep in mind that some topics are more serious than they're depicted in any particular piece. The thought of Mr. Doucette giving the hint of more of the protagonists is a hopeful one! If we liked it as much as you did, knowing there can be more is always good :D

Thank you so much for such a nice review!

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Post by praise+anyi »

I don't know much about the Civil War and the Indian resettlements. Though you made mention that the author didn't write about it in details, I'll sure seek more answers to quench my questions by reading this story. Awesome review!

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Post by kandscreeley »

Tavaiel26 wrote:
21 Mar 2020, 05:09
This book seems like a good addition to our library. Sometimes you need to have a bit of softer historical fiction, and it's alright to enjoy the experience as long as we keep in mind that some topics are more serious than they're depicted in any particular piece. The thought of Mr. Doucette giving the hint of more of the protagonists is a hopeful one! If we liked it as much as you did, knowing there can be more is always good :D

Thank you so much for such a nice review!
You're right. There's definitely nothing wrong with a bit of lighter historical fiction. There are some spots that do make you think. Thanks for commenting.
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Post by kandscreeley »

praise+anyi wrote:
21 Mar 2020, 06:34
I don't know much about the Civil War and the Indian resettlements. Though you made mention that the author didn't write about it in details, I'll sure seek more answers to quench my questions by reading this story. Awesome review!
This is a good place to start, especially if you don't know much. It was an interesting story and worth reading. Thank you!
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Post by kdstrack »

This is a time period I enjoy. The book has some weaknesses, but the overall premise is intriguing. I have enjoyed other books by this author and would be interesting in reading this one, too. Thanks!!

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Post by Kanda_theGreat »

I appreciate the fact that your review is comprehensive enough to warn me not to attempt reading the book, as its shortcomings may be too much for me.
Well done!
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Post by Gifted Soul »

I'm happy that the organization and editing of the book is exceptional, as per your thorough review.
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Post by espo »

Indian resettlement is not something you often read about, especially in the context of the Civil War. I haven't read this book but it sounds like the author should have worked on a more thorough perspective on this, to make the topic justice. I also get turned off when relationships between characters are not developed properly. Thank you for your insightful and well-written review!
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Post by espo »

Indian resettlement is not something you often read about, especially in the context of the Civil War. I haven't read this book but it sounds like the author should have worked on a more thorough perspective on this, to make the topic justice. I also get turned off when relationships between characters are not developed properly. Thank you for your insightful and well-written review!
The strongest impetus a man will ever have, in an individual sense, will come from a woman he admires.

- George Jackson, "Soledad Brother"

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Post by kandscreeley »

kdstrack wrote:
21 Mar 2020, 16:52
This is a time period I enjoy. The book has some weaknesses, but the overall premise is intriguing. I have enjoyed other books by this author and would be interesting in reading this one, too. Thanks!!
There are a few weaknesses, but that's not to say it's a bad book. It's worth reading. I hope you enjoy!
Good books, like good friends, are few and chosen; the more select, the more enjoyable.
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