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Official Review: West of Cayuga by Jim Little

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: West of Cayuga by Jim Little

Post Number:#1 by Mollymae
» 16 May 2017, 21:15

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "West of Cayuga" by Jim Little.]

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3 out of 4 stars
Review by Mollymae
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Reading West of Cayuga was a trip back into time. I chose the book specifically for that reason. The author, Jim Little, had a very interesting idea. After having completed a family genealogy, he decided to write a book based on what he had learned about their participation in the Civil War. Apparently he had family that fought on both sides during the war. That alone promises to be an interesting premise.

The story follows the Little family. It opens with Archy Little and his sons, Green, James, and Robert. The family is Quaker and do not believe in slavery. Yet they do have an African American, Jeb, living and working on the farm. Jeb and his family introduce some very interesting conflict into the story. As the Little family spreads north in pursuit of a better way of life, Archy sends Jeb along to keep him safe from local vigilantes. With Jeb gone, his wife Samantha and their children are taken and sold into slavery. Then the war begins. James Little and Jeb end up fighting for the North while Green and his son, David, fight for the South. Jeb hoping to locate and save his wife during his travels.

The book is historical fiction and I feel the author did a good job with authenticity. He was able to track the family through various battles and the reader gets a good feel for the period. He was careful to include period dialogue when possible. Although I did find it improbable that the family members tended to meet on the battlefield. Some might find that an intriguing story twist, but I found it to be unrealistic and felt it detracted from the overall piece.

I thought the character Jeb lent the most to the book. He was steadfast in his efforts to find his wife. He showed bravery and dealt with the prevalent racism of the period with intelligence and resilience. He was a character that I could admire.

However, I found the plot lacking. There was a recitation of activity but very little in the way of leading the reader on to the next chapter. Although there were bits that showed true promise, I didn’t feel any excitement or suspense when reading this book. There were also pieces of family history that were included but did not actually add to the storyline. Overall, I rate this book at 3 out of 4 stars and feel it would be most appreciated by history buffs.

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Re: Official Review: West of Cayuga by Jim Little

Post Number:#2 by Chrys Brobbey
» 19 May 2017, 15:40

The Civil War to end slavery is Abraham Lincoln's greatest legacy to mankind. I wonder if he's mentioned anywhere in the story. Thanks for a good review that makes me want to find out the full story.
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Re: Official Review: West of Cayuga by Jim Little

Post Number:#3 by Mollymae
» 19 May 2017, 19:11

Abraham Lincoln is mentioned in the book but the Little family doesn't have any interaction with him. I hope you do get a chance to read it.
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Re: Official Review: West of Cayuga by Jim Little

Post Number:#4 by CatInTheHat
» 20 May 2017, 10:49

I would imagine that meeting on the battlefield brought out some pretty significant emotions. I can't imagine what a father or brother would do if his commander said "shoot" in that scenario. Well, actually, I'd hope they'd disobey but one never knows with the adrenaline rushes and high emotions. It'd be hard to explain when one returned home.
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Re: Official Review: West of Cayuga by Jim Little

Post Number:#5 by Jaime Lync
» 20 May 2017, 22:09

Wow. This is a trip back in time that I want to take. Great premise. I actually find it hard to feel suspense in most books because I can easily figure out what is coming ahead unless it is a comedy. Great review.
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Re: Official Review: West of Cayuga by Jim Little

Post Number:#6 by blacksand22
» 21 May 2017, 04:29

When I'am reading this, it felts like am the guy. Haha
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Re: Official Review: West of Cayuga by Jim Little

Post Number:#7 by Amagine
» 21 May 2017, 11:28

I love historical fictions because they can be entertaining but also they are filled with historical and educational content that can benefit readers. It's unfortunate that the plot was lacking.

Great Review! 😁
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Re: Official Review: West of Cayuga by Jim Little

Post Number:#8 by kandscreeley
» 24 May 2017, 09:17

I understand what you mean by no flow. I'm not that much into history, so this probably isn't the book for me. I have a feeling that there were quite a few families who had members fighting on both sides. Thanks for the review.
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Re: Official Review: West of Cayuga by Jim Little

Post Number:#9 by bookowlie
» 24 May 2017, 09:22

Nice, insightful review! The premise of the story sounds interesting - family members who fought on both sides during the Civil War. It's too bad the book didn't live up to your expectations. It's difficult to read a book if there isn't much propelling the plot forward from chapter to chapter.
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Re: Official Review: West of Cayuga by Jim Little

Post Number:#10 by Kitkat3
» 31 May 2017, 08:14

I don't think that I will read this because of the issues that you mentioned, but I like the idea of the book. Thanks for the review.
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Re: Official Review: West of Cayuga by Jim Little

Post Number:#11 by James Daniel
» 07 Jun 2017, 08:57

Wow this book is amazing
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Re: Official Review: West of Cayuga by Jim Little

Post Number:#12 by Rosemary Okoko
» 20 Jun 2017, 04:14

I would not mind reading this book because of the history in it. The scope sounds good. Thank you for the review.
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