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Official Review: Crockett's Coin by Mike Jordan

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.

Official Review: Crockett's Coin by Mike Jordan

Post Number:#1 by CatInTheHat
» 04 Apr 2017, 14:51

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Crockett's Coin" by Mike Jordan.]

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4 out of 4 stars
Review by CatInTheHat
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Mike Jordan takes you back to life in Middle Tennessee during the era surrounding the War of 1812. Times are changing in this rural area. These hardworking people were used to working with each other side by side; race was irrelevant. Newcomers with different ideas came along, affecting everyone.

Crockett’s Coin: A Historical Novel is fictional but is heavily based on real people and actual events. The story centers on the Bohannan family, author Mike Jordan’s ancestors, as well as other Middle Tennessee families, such as the Harps, Fergusons and Gates. Smatterings of folks from Northern Virginia, along with some well-known politicians of the time period, are among the other interesting characters introduced in the story. Listening to the author talk about Dolley (author’s spelling) Madison yelling at the Secretary of War gives a completely different picture than we are used to when we think of our country’s early First Ladies.

When the story begins, Henderson Bohannan, JB, Winnie Harp and Kate Gate are young preteens that are the best of friends, enjoying a bit of fun but also getting closer to adulthood. Henderson and JB are lifelong friends. Henderson is white; JB is black. They meet Winnie and Kate on the same fateful day, a day that heavily affects their lives well into the future. The girls become fast friends with the boys. Kate Gate has traveled to the area with her sisters and their lunatic mother. Winnie’s whole clan is heading West but stops in this place that quickly becomes home. Chase Ferguson, a peer of theirs but no friend, has managed to gain a contract to wed Winnie upon her 19th birthday; his powerful but evil family influences the others in many ways throughout the story. As the youngsters grow into teens and hit the verge of adulthood, the reader watches how they battle the wickedness in the world and their relationships with each other.

Kate has a passion to help free slaves, which is one of the story’s engaging plot lines. Watching her intermingle with early abolitionists was attention grabbing, as it was clear the author had done his research and explained it well. Explanations for the beginnings of the Underground Railroad help the reader to understand how things really worked, as well as the fear that went into the execution of an escape. Jordan brings out many emotions with his demonstrations of the horrors of slavery and the evil behind it.

Sukie and Red Bohannon are Henderson’s parents. Sukie hails from Northern Virginia, a place the family visits during the midst of the War of 1812. Sukie’s own past haunts her, as she wonders how life would have been different if she had not met Red and moved to the frontier of Tennessee to raise her family. Family conflicts and their resolutions bring unexpected twists, as does Sukie and Red’s love story.

Jordan manages to bring in historical events within the War of 1812 to a more personal level, as they did in his ancestors’ real lives. One doesn’t want to stop reading about these multifaceted characters. There are several intertwining plots that do help bring the characters together. However, it is a bit confusing at times, as Jordan starts in 1814, going into much detail, and then suddenly takes the reader back to 1810, where the story really begins. The story ends in 1818, leaving the reader wanting to know what happens next. Fortunately, there is a sequel to Crockett's Coin that will allow readers delve a bit further into legacy of the Bohannan clan. A legacy that lives on in Middle Tennessee today, with their farmland still on the shores of Falling Water River.

I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. The weaknesses were few and the strength of the story line makes one want to keep reading. One aspect that I found odd was the “coffee breaks”. At different points in the story, there were breaks where the author suggested that the reader go to his website to discuss the book up to that point. Other book discussion sites were also listed. For this reviewer, it would have been more beneficial to include discussion questions within the book, rather than sending me to a website in the midst of reading. Anyone with an interest in the early 19th century and how people dealt with the difficult issues of the time would enjoy this story. It serves as both a useful history lesson and a compelling narrative, hence the high recommendation.

******
Crockett's Coin
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Re: Official Review: Crockett's Coin by Mike Jordan

Post Number:#2 by Amagine
» 10 May 2017, 19:39

I love the historical content in this story concerning the time frame and the War of 1812. I also like that the characters are well developed and interesting. It makes historical fictions even more fascinating when there are entertaining characters and an entertaining plot.

Great Review! 💙
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Re: Official Review: Crockett's Coin by Mike Jordan

Post Number:#3 by Chrys Brobbey
» 11 May 2017, 01:05

I'll need to read up on the War of 1812 to be able to place this book in its right context. Thank's for a good review.
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Re: Official Review: Crockett's Coin by Mike Jordan

Post Number:#4 by CatInTheHat
» 11 May 2017, 07:01

Chrys Brobbey wrote:I'll need to read up on the War of 1812 to be able to place this book in its right context. Thank's for a good review.



I did a little bit of that as I read the book. I had forgotten how long the war lasted, for example. I find the name of the war a bit of a misnomer due to the actual length of the war. It last just under 3 years.
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Re: Official Review: Crockett's Coin by Mike Jordan

Post Number:#5 by godreaujea
» 11 May 2017, 07:32

I love historical fiction, especially when they are heavily fact based! Sounds like an awesome book, and good job on the review!
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Re: Official Review: Crockett's Coin by Mike Jordan

Post Number:#6 by kandscreeley
» 11 May 2017, 07:58

Wow! This sounds intriguing. I actually kind of like the idea of the coffee breaks. I think in this technological day and age, people might really enjoy that! Thanks for the great review.
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Re: Official Review: Crockett's Coin by Mike Jordan

Post Number:#7 by godreaujea
» 11 May 2017, 15:44

I love historical fiction, especially during this time period. I just might have to check it out! Great review!
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Re: Official Review: Crockett's Coin by Mike Jordan

Post Number:#8 by CatInTheHat
» 11 May 2017, 17:54

kandscreeley wrote:Wow! This sounds intriguing. I actually kind of like the idea of the coffee breaks. I think in this technological day and age, people might really enjoy that! Thanks for the great review.



I would have liked them if I'd found actual discussion questions for people to discuss and interact with each other. Instead, it was just links to this site and things like Goodreads, plus the author's website. He now has a few starting points but it isn't really a discussion. Just a place for people to leave comments. Something more interactive, such as we have here on OBC, would have worked better.
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Re: Official Review: Crockett's Coin by Mike Jordan

Post Number:#9 by greenstripedgiraffe
» 12 May 2017, 18:25

This sounds right up my alley. I need to keep this one in mind, for sure! Unfortunately, I know basically nothing about the War of 1812, except that it happened :oops:

I grew up in the North, moved to the South, and have been learning much about racial tensions in the last year or two. I feel I would have been an abolitionist back in the day and would be highly interested to read more about what it was really like, as opposed to the romanticized view.
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Re: Official Review: Crockett's Coin by Mike Jordan

Post Number:#10 by SpiderDreamer1
» 12 May 2017, 19:08

It's often tricky to tackle American history from a fictionalized perspective because it becomes easy to romanticize the past, but this sounds like it navigates such a tricky situation fairly well. Was there anything research-wise you felt could have been improved?
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Re: Official Review: Crockett's Coin by Mike Jordan

Post Number:#11 by CatInTheHat
» 12 May 2017, 20:01

greenstripedgiraffe wrote:This sounds right up my alley. I need to keep this one in mind, for sure! Unfortunately, I know basically nothing about the War of 1812, except that it happened :oops:

I grew up in the North, moved to the South, and have been learning much about racial tensions in the last year or two. I feel I would have been an abolitionist back in the day and would be highly interested to read more about what it was really like, as opposed to the romanticized view.


I did the same thing, around 1990. It was eye opening to see how different it was in the Northeast compared to Georgia. It was a very unexpected culture shock.

-- 12 May 2017, 21:03 --

SpiderDreamer1 wrote:It's often tricky to tackle American history from a fictionalized perspective because it becomes easy to romanticize the past, but this sounds like it navigates such a tricky situation fairly well. Was there anything research-wise you felt could have been improved?


Not really, it was very well researched.
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Re: Official Review: Crockett's Coin by Mike Jordan

Post Number:#12 by Jaime Lync
» 13 May 2017, 14:53

This sounds like an emotional ride that i want to get on. Your review really sells this book. Thanks.
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Re: Official Review: Crockett's Coin by Mike Jordan

Post Number:#13 by CatInTheHat
» 13 May 2017, 15:02

Jaime Lync wrote:This sounds like an emotional ride that i want to get on. Your review really sells this book. Thanks.


Definitely an emotional ride. I'm glad you found the review so helpful.
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Re: Official Review: Crockett's Coin by Mike Jordan

Post Number:#14 by SpiderDreamer1
» 16 May 2017, 08:51

-- 12 May 2017, 21:03 --

SpiderDreamer1 wrote:It's often tricky to tackle American history from a fictionalized perspective because it becomes easy to romanticize the past, but this sounds like it navigates such a tricky situation fairly well. Was there anything research-wise you felt could have been improved?


Not really, it was very well researched.[/quote]

Well, that's good at least. I tend to like a lot of background details that are weaved into stories like this, and it sounds like there are plenty.
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Re: Official Review: Crockett's Coin by Mike Jordan

Post Number:#15 by CatInTheHat
» 16 May 2017, 11:15

SpiderDreamer1 wrote:-- 12 May 2017, 21:03 --

SpiderDreamer1 wrote:It's often tricky to tackle American history from a fictionalized perspective because it becomes easy to romanticize the past, but this sounds like it navigates such a tricky situation fairly well. Was there anything research-wise you felt could have been improved?


Not really, it was very well researched.


Well, that's good at least. I tend to like a lot of background details that are weaved into stories like this, and it sounds like there are plenty.[/quote]

At the end, the author includes some historical info to help explain the era and region more thoroughly.
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