Official Review: His Name is Jacob Harris by J.J. McFarland

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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mumoscar
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Official Review: His Name is Jacob Harris by J.J. McFarland

Post by mumoscar » 03 Jul 2018, 08:03

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "His Name is Jacob Harris" by J.J. McFarland.]
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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.

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His Name is Jacob Harris
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melissy370
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Post by melissy370 » 05 Jul 2018, 14:46

I always think it is neat when family members write about their ancestors. As you say it "ignites the fire" in the reading. It is odd that it ends on a cliffhanger, but it sounds like it has a lot going for it. Since I love the Civil War era, I would definitely read this book. Thanks for your review.

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Post by Cecilia_L » 05 Jul 2018, 15:09

I am surprised that this book would end on a cliffhanger. I think writing about family ancestors definitely lends an added layer of interest to the story. Horrible battle scenes are not for me, so I appreciate the forewarning.

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Post by Nmadinachi Egwim » 05 Jul 2018, 15:23

Wow! Nice review. I was feeling the book already but had an "ow" moment when I saw 'cliffhanger'. Its genre is an interesting and informative one, and seems a great read for history enthusiasts. However I often find myself in silent conflict with authors about cliffhangers. If not properly effected, cliffhangers could be frustrating to a reader.

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Post by Britty01 » 05 Jul 2018, 19:03

This review is both moving and enticing. I need to take a look at this book as I would like to know more about the Civil War and the slave trade. I am not keen on graphic battle scenes, but I think I may be tempted to make an exception in this instance.

I cannot imagine the agony for someone to see their home destroyed and their family decimated. It makes one very thankful that we can read it, and not live it at least in the physical sense. Our emotions may take a battering, however.

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Post by JR Mercier » 06 Jul 2018, 06:03

I love your review. I've been introduced to the world of grandchildren writing about the awesome lives of their ancestors and so far, I love it. Really love the review and I hope there is a sequel.
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Post by Dahmy 10 » 06 Jul 2018, 14:52

To realize that the author wrote about his ancestor, I think that is a very inspiring feat. There is always work when one writes history. To write a novel on history would be more work. I say a big well done to the author!!

This is a beautiful review!!!

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Post by osayuwamen6 » 07 Jul 2018, 11:22

It's an historical fictional novel that captured the lives of those that lived in the 80's basically about the author's great-great-grand father's live and I think it's going to be good read for me. Awesome review!

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