3 out of 4 stars
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His Name is Jacob Harris by J.J. McFarland is a historical biographical fiction novel that gives a detailed narration of the Civil War of the 19th century. The sophisticated motor industries we have today were not in existence then and therefore, the transport business was done by trains and ships. The Civil War included an ocean-going Naval threat against Union shipping and the smuggling of arms into the Port of Charleston from Liverpool.
J.J. McFarland has been in the intelligence business for nearly 20 years. His experiences while attached to various departments helped a great deal in the writing of this book.
The fact that the main character in the book is actually J.J. McFarland's great-great-grandfather ignites the fire in reading the book. The story begins in 1841, Burke's Garden, Virginia otherwise known as The Thumbprint of God owing to its distinctive silhouette and magnificence. Jacob and Lorenzo's parents: James and Mary Buress, had moved and settled into the garden in the spring of 1827. In the fateful morning of 1841, the brothers visited the Wolf Creek for fishing and to fetch water. On their return, it was sad to realize that the Indians had raided their home, killed their parents and kidnapped their younger siblings. The McFarland family adopted the two brothers, who later joined the 51st Virginia Infantry during the Civil War. Whether or not they survived the War, this book describes the happenings in detail.
This book demonstrated to me that I actually knew nothing concerning the Civil War and the slave trade of the 19th century. It's hard to imagine how the soldiers and civilians survived in a world where access to food and health services seemed to be a luxury and would take several days. It's amazing how the author conducted intense research dated to over 150 years ago to bring about the thrilling effect in the book. It’s a piece of work that deserves a prize.
Betrayal, conspiracy, romance and adventure are the themes portrayed in this awesome narration. I liked it that the author is keen to capture the historic moments during the Civil War for the reader's benefit. I have read a few historic genres but this one seems to surpass all. I also liked the fact that the soldier's family lives and the hardships they face away from their families for extended periods of time are not left out. Although some of the military terms used are somewhat hard to pronounce or understand, the author is careful to use a simple language relatable to all readers.
While the book is an appetizing one, there were errors that would pop up here and there. I encountered grammar errors and also several missing articles. For example, the author wrote: "…fair-minded man who he treated his slaves with respect…," "…Jacob, are not trying to me something?" "…he tended to tune out them out..."
The book also ends on a cliff-hanger with no promise of future continuation leaving the reader with vital unanswered questions. I rate the book 3 out of 4 stars. This book is good for historical researchers and those who would like to learn about the slave trade and the 19th century Civil War. However, there are horrible battle scenes that may not be favourable for some readers.
His Name is Jacob Harris
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