Official Review: High Plains Fort by AHHolt

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.
Post Reply
User avatar
melissy370
Posts: 612
Joined: 15 Nov 2017, 09:49
2018 Reading Goal: 50
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 78
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 99
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-melissy370.html
Latest Review: The Right to Nominate by Thomas E Peterson
Reading Device: B00IKPYKWG

Official Review: High Plains Fort by AHHolt

Post by melissy370 » 01 May 2018, 10:35

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "High Plains Fort" by AHHolt.]
Book Cover
2 out of 4 stars
Share This Review


High Plains Fort by A.H. Holt is a historical fiction novel that is set in the early 1800s. It is perfect for anyone who loves character-driven stories that have history, action, and a tinge of romance in it. Justin Tolliver, a twenty-one-year-old South Carolinian, is at the center of the story. After having a dispute with his father about how to handle the plantation slaves, Justin sets out on his own to establish a name for himself. His intention is to move out west and make enough money to provide for his soon-to-be bride, Amelia, to come and join him. Throughout the book, Justin and Amelia correspond by letters and discuss their circumstances in their respective places. Along the way, Justin encounters thieves, murderers, and Indians that make his journey adventurous. And in gaining enemies, making it dangerous too. His eventual destination in the book is a trading post called Bent’s Fort, where his job is Chief Clerk and commanding the day-to-day business. When nefarious white men and Comanches attack the Fort, can Justin help defend it? Will he ever see his Amelia again?

Bent’s Fort was on the Santa Fe Trail and functioned as a trading post for the wagon trains passing through. The Fort provided a much-needed rest for the weary worn travelers as they headed out further west. Indian tribes traded there, but they were not allowed to stay inside the fort at night unless they worked there. Holt has the founders of the Fort, Ceran St. Vrain and William and Charles Bent, make appearances in the story. I had never heard of this piece of history until this book and it fascinated me with the complex operations that go on inside the complex. Holt does an admirable job interweaving history with fiction so that neither one is overshadowing the other. From the description of the Fort to the mentality of folks going out west to start a new life, I thought, was detailed but never overwhelming. The history enhanced the storyline but never hindered it. I have even now put Bent’s Fort on my must visit list.

High Plains Fort is a tale of the American Dream. Justin wishes to make something of himself, not by his family’s prominent name, but by his hard work. His evolving nature is one highlight of the book. The narrative follows Justin’s adventures mostly, but periodically we receive a glimpse into one of the other character’s life. My favorite is Jose, an older Hispanic man, who was an ex-slave with a troubled and tragic past. He leads a life of brutality for the excitement and money until he meets a woman who convinces him to settle down. With her untimely death, Jose falls into violence again. His personality is flawed, but it shows how human he is. The anger about his past and his feelings of hopelessness is relatable. Jose uses his violent past to be an integral part in helping Justin defend the Fort.

If you are looking for more specifics in the action, you will need to look somewhere else. The battle scenes are what I call "shaded around the edges". They are told just enough for you to get what's going on without depicting all the grisly details. I appreciated this, and the clean language that his characters used.

My main criticism of High Plains Fort is the editing. Almost in every chapter were grammatical errors, missing, or misspelled words. Sometimes the wrong character’s name was used. Also, the constant switching in the first and third person point of view was an issue. The book is written in the third person but quickly shifts to first. And then back again to third. In fact, in one sentence alone, both point of views were used in illustrating an incident at the Fort. To top all this off is Holt’s varying methods of delineating when someone is thinking. Sometimes quotations were used. Sometimes italics. And sometimes nothing at all, making the thoughts blend in with the rest of the story. It became a guessing game if someone was thinking it or saying it.

I struggled with the rating because the story was not awful. Overall, I liked it, but with the many errors it had, I must rate the book as 2 out of 4 stars. With the proper editing, this book could be a gem on someone’s bookshelf.

******
High Plains Fort
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon

Like melissy370's review? Post a comment saying so!

User avatar
AmySmiles
Previous Member of the Month
Posts: 1228
Joined: 21 Mar 2018, 10:43
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 146
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-amysmiles.html
Latest Review: Letters From The War by Amanda Bryant

Post by AmySmiles » 08 May 2018, 07:57

Wow, it sounds like this could have been a great book all around if it weren't for all the errors. Sadly, that seems to be what I have found with most new books these days. It's crazy that they even used the wrong character's name. It makes you wonder if the authors even read over their work, or if they just type it out and send it on its way.
Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book.
–Author Unknown

User avatar
Libs_Books
Posts: 755
Joined: 13 Feb 2018, 12:54
Favorite Book: The year of the flood
Currently Reading: Mason Dixon
Bookshelf Size: 273
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-libs-books.html
Latest Review: Dont Panic Its Organic by Dr. Andy Lopez

Post by Libs_Books » 08 May 2018, 14:43

The historical element sounds really interesting, and the author obviously has some skill, as you say in interweaving history and fiction. Although I'm not particularly interested in this period, the book would appeal if it had been well-written and well-edited, but the errors you describe put me off completely. Thanks for a very well-balanced review.

User avatar
Sahani Nimandra
Bookshelves Moderator
Posts: 1414
Joined: 27 Nov 2017, 22:49
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2017 Reading Goal: 5
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 109
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 5
Favorite Book: Harry Potter and The Sorceress Stone
Currently Reading: White Jaguar
Bookshelf Size: 439
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-sahani-nimandra.html
Latest Review: This Nearly Was Mine: A Novel by Nancy Farkas
Reading Device: Huawei

Post by Sahani Nimandra » 08 May 2018, 22:30

Too bad about the errors but the book sounds like a clean whistle. Historical reads play a insightful role at times. Good read! Thanks for the review!
Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are :techie-studyingbrown: - Mason Cooley

User avatar
SamSim
Posts: 491
Joined: 02 Apr 2018, 10:51
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 21
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 179
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-samsim.html
Latest Review: Zertone by Amanda K. Rivers
Reading Device: B00IKPYKWG

Post by SamSim » 10 May 2018, 12:26

You made me want to read this book, but it sounds like the errors would be distracting. I really appreciate that you confirmed that the book isn't graphically violent and that the speech is "clean." I wish more reviewers made a point of mentioning whether or not that's the case with a particular book, sort of like a G or PG kind of thing. Come to think of it, it would be great if there was a way to accompany reviews with check-boxes or something, so people could tell, at a glance, some information about the book. For example: Swearing? Yes/No. Sexual content? Yes/No. Extreme violence? Yes/No. Then the reviewer could qualify the yes/no answers with more detail in the review. I apologize for my tangent, but your review inspired it. Thanks!

User avatar
melissy370
Posts: 612
Joined: 15 Nov 2017, 09:49
2018 Reading Goal: 50
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 78
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 99
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-melissy370.html
Latest Review: The Right to Nominate by Thomas E Peterson
Reading Device: B00IKPYKWG

Post by melissy370 » 10 May 2018, 13:21

AmySmiles wrote: ↑
08 May 2018, 07:57
Wow, it sounds like this could have been a great book all around if it weren't for all the errors. Sadly, that seems to be what I have found with most new books these days. It's crazy that they even used the wrong character's name. It makes you wonder if the authors even read over their work, or if they just type it out and send it on its way.
It is confusing on why certain errors occur. You would think the author would know their own character's name and who's speaking. Thanks for commenting.

User avatar
melissy370
Posts: 612
Joined: 15 Nov 2017, 09:49
2018 Reading Goal: 50
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 78
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 99
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-melissy370.html
Latest Review: The Right to Nominate by Thomas E Peterson
Reading Device: B00IKPYKWG

Post by melissy370 » 10 May 2018, 13:35

SamSim wrote: ↑
10 May 2018, 12:26
You made me want to read this book, but it sounds like the errors would be distracting. I really appreciate that you confirmed that the book isn't graphically violent and that the speech is "clean." I wish more reviewers made a point of mentioning whether or not that's the case with a particular book, sort of like a G or PG kind of thing. Come to think of it, it would be great if there was a way to accompany reviews with check-boxes or something, so people could tell, at a glance, some information about the book. For example: Swearing? Yes/No. Sexual content? Yes/No. Extreme violence? Yes/No. Then the reviewer could qualify the yes/no answers with more detail in the review. I apologize for my tangent, but your review inspired it. Thanks!
I would love if there were check boxes. I hate when I start reading a book and the language and content are not something I would want to indulge in. It ruins the storyline for me. Thanks for your feedback.

Post Reply

Return to “Historical Fiction”