Official Review: I, Walter by Mike Hartner

Please use this forum to discuss historical fiction books. Common definitions define historical fiction as novels written at least 25-50 years after the book's setting.
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greenstripedgiraffe
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Official Review: I, Walter by Mike Hartner

Post by greenstripedgiraffe »

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "I, Walter" by Mike Hartner.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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Written in the form of an autobiography or memoir, I, Walter by Mike Hartner is a story of an unlikely hero and philanthropist born in England in the late 1500’s. Walter narrates as though he were writing his life story when he is near death. His story begins when he runs from home around age 12 in search of a better life than his father would provide. After scraping an existence as best as he can, Walter meets with a man named Bert who convinces Walter to join the royal navy as a crew member. Fortunately for Walter, Bert is an honorable man who becomes Walter’s mentor and friend.

Honesty, a sense of fair play, and generosity rule Walter’s daily decisions as well as choices he makes when under significant pressure—such as fighting off a crew of pirates or defending the honor of girl captured by pirates. When Walter meets the love of his life, he wants nothing more than to prove himself worthy of asking her hand in marriage and sets out to search for ways to become wealthy. It is nearly impossible in this time period for someone of low birth to raise in position. Will the gods favor Walter in his quest? As a sailor in the royal navy, Walter faces a multitude of perilous situations. Pirates, nobility, danger, and mystery are all key players in Walter’s life.

When I review a book, I specifically look at the overall storyline, the pacing, and character development. Overall, I, Walter is a very easy read and has an adequate plot. The exciting action-filled pace and harrowing near-death experiences easily kept my attention. Regarding character development, Walter is generally a likable fellow, although he goes through life generally unaware of how he is perceived by others. Most of the other characters are somewhat flat, but the dialogue is overall solid and interesting. I also really like the fact that the romance is sweet and clean.

My biggest complaint is that I am not convinced that the author thoroughly researched history before writing. The time period felt more like a general setting than an integral part of the story. Mentions of actual historical people are rare and often vague. Even the king of England was referred to as “the King” throughout, although King James VI would have been the king of England. The author also introduces significant confusion about the king of Spain at the time. For these reasons, I take any history provided with a grain of salt. Some of the spelling was unusual to me, such as “sayling” instead of “sailing.” I guessed this was an attempt to provide some authenticity to the historical setting.

Overall, I rate this 3 out of 4 stars. I found the storyline to be unique and refreshing, but would not consider this to be solid historical fiction, even though set in the 1500’s. If the characters were better developed, I might be tempted to give this a solid 4, despite the lack of any solid historical authenticity.

******
I, Walter
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Post by kandscreeley »

Interesting. I think an author should definitely do his research before writing a book like this. I don't know if I want to read a historical fiction if there really isn't much history. Thanks for the review though.
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Post by kimmyschemy06 »

Sounds interesting. Too bad, though, about the limited historical information. It seems like the author focused mainly on the plot. Good job on the review.
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Post by greenstripedgiraffe »

kimmyschemy06 wrote:Sounds interesting. Too bad, though, about the limited historical information. It seems like the author focused mainly on the plot. Good job on the review.
Yes, I think he did skimp a bit on the history part. Thanks!

-- 15 Mar 2017, 13:17 --
kandscreeley wrote:Interesting. I think an author should definitely do his research before writing a book like this. I don't know if I want to read a historical fiction if there really isn't much history. Thanks for the review though.
I do prefer a historical fiction with a real feel to it. The plot was interesting enough, though :) Thanks for reading my review!
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Post by Tmn126 »

Thank you for this review. I am always interested in historical fiction. I'm a homeschool mom, and I think this genre can help history become real and relatable for my children more than a dry textbook ever could. However, when the history in a book is vague or inaccurate, it does sort of defeat the purpose. So that's really helpful information to have from a review. It doesn't necessarily make the book bad, but it does impact the reasons I might have fore reading it.
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Post by gali »

Sounds interesting! Too bad about the lack of sufficient research. I am glad you still enjoyed the book. Thank you for the great review!
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Post by greenstripedgiraffe »

Tmn126 wrote:Thank you for this review. I am always interested in historical fiction. I'm a homeschool mom, and I think this genre can help history become real and relatable for my children more than a dry textbook ever could. However, when the history in a book is vague or inaccurate, it does sort of defeat the purpose. So that's really helpful information to have from a review. It doesn't necessarily make the book bad, but it does impact the reasons I might have fore reading it.
Thank you for reading my review! I do hope it helped.

-- 17 Mar 2017, 07:46 --
gali wrote:Sounds interesting! Too bad about the lack of sufficient research. I am glad you still enjoyed the book. Thank you for the great review!
Thank you! :)
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Post by Heidi M Simone »

Thank you for the thorough review! I love that the plot is so captivating. However, when I read a historical fiction piece, I thrive on the factual information. Because this book lacked the historical pieces, I believe it is not for me. I'm glad, though, that you were still able to enjoy this read despite its flaws. :)
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Post by greenstripedgiraffe »

hsimone wrote:Thank you for the thorough review! I love that the plot is so captivating. However, when I read a historical fiction piece, I thrive on the factual information. Because this book lacked the historical pieces, I believe it is not for me. I'm glad, though, that you were still able to enjoy this read despite its flaws. :)
Thank you for your your kind comments. I was surprised at the lack of historicity! I think I would classify it in "other fiction" rather than "historical fiction." :lol:
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Post by godreaujea »

I love historical fiction, but mostly because I find the storyline that is based on true events fascinating and I like reading about complex characters. Sometimes a story just has one of those things, but it doesn't sound like this book hits my quota. You wrote a nice, honest review though, so thank you!
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Post by greenstripedgiraffe »

godreaujea wrote:I love historical fiction, but mostly because I find the storyline that is based on true events fascinating and I like reading about complex characters. Sometimes a story just has one of those things, but it doesn't sound like this book hits my quota. You wrote a nice, honest review though, so thank you!
I love historical fiction because of the fascination with learning about history! So, if the accuracy is dubious, my enjoyment is dubious =D
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Post by HannahsReads »

Thanks for your inciteful review. I agree that the historical setting should play an integral role in any good historical fiction, though the adventure sounds exciting in this book!
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Post by Aisha Yakub »

Walter is a resilient young man. I hope he is able to make a bold statement and rise financially desire his humble background. Great review
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Post by Peace10 »

This is a great review! I’ve always loved historical fiction, but only those that are very detailed.
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Post by Stevenmusk »

Unique plot, seems like an interesting book. Thanks for the review.
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