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

Post by Kibetious » 29 Dec 2018, 00:48

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "His Name is Jacob Harris" by J.J. McFarland.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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It is during the Civil War. Two brothers, Jacob Jake Harris and Lorenzo Dow Harris, decide to join the army. They are quickly assigned to the 51st Virginia Infantry Regiment. The farmers and business people in the southern states had to work hard to support the troops at war. The Confederate States of America army was disadvantaged. The Confederate army was smaller and had lesser ammunition than the Union but was determined to win the war. To them, any resolution that meant preserving their Southern lifestyle and dignity which included the right to own slaves would be victory. In the end, both the Confederate and Union Forces suffered heavy losses.

In His Name is Jacob Harris, the author intertwines many themes to create a fascinating story. The characters were adequately developed. There are numerous characters in the book, but all of them had specific roles to play. The story is narrated in the third-person point-of-view hence making it possible to follow every action as it takes place and also monitor the characters as the story progressed. Jacob and Lorenzo were already married back at Burke’s Garden Virginia. However, in the course of their visits to Charleston to acquire slaves, they came across two beautiful ladies. At first, their relationships seemed casual. As time went by, it was easy to notice how Jacob was becoming drawn to Lilly more than his wife. Jacob had always thought his relationship with his wife would remain intact. Many secrets are to remain hidden by those who know them in this book.

The plot of the story was also well built. All the events flowed in a way that was easy to understand. On the other hand, there were moments when the transitions in time were poorly executed. This is for example in an instance where many years had passed and yet this could not be easily told until one read in the story. I felt this could have been done better than the way it is currently. The use of vivid description in the story was mind-blowing. The depiction of Burke’s Garden Virginia was so superbly done that I felt like visiting the place. This was not the only place where description was done well. It occurred in every instance where the author was describing anything. Some illustrations and maps were also included. They complimented the descriptions well.

The themes handled in the book were able to reveal the effect of war on the lives of ordinary people even those who were not involved in the war. Many young men to volunteer to serve in the army. This showed the level of sacrifice people were willing to pay so as to preserve their way of life. The love relationships between Jacob and Lilly and also Lorenzo and Lucy made the book more interesting as well. Ultimately, there is something for every reader in this book. The book was well edited. I found only one misspelled word. Therefore, I rate it 4 out of 4 stars. I enjoyed reading it a lot. The number of turns and twist were few but were amazing. They caught me off-guard all through.

The author, J.J. McFarland, has visited Burke’s Garden Virginia severally. He has also been an avid reader of spy novels since his teenage years. Backed with his experience of working in the intelligence community, this book is bound to capture one’s attention from the first page. I recommend this book to all fans of historical fiction books. Those who do not enjoy stories set in the eighteenth century might not fancy reading this one.

******
His Name is Jacob Harris
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Post by kandscreeley » 29 Dec 2018, 17:53

It sounds like there are a lot of great themes here. War is never fun or easy. It is, though, something we should forever remember. This is one I'll be putting on my list. Thanks.
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Post by Kibetious » 29 Dec 2018, 23:39

kandscreeley wrote:
29 Dec 2018, 17:53
It sounds like there are a lot of great themes here. War is never fun or easy. It is, though, something we should forever remember. This is one I'll be putting on my list. Thanks.
Thanks a lot for the comment and reply. The book is fascinating for sure. I am sure that you will enjoy reading it.
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Post by Alicia09 » 30 Dec 2018, 13:36

This sounds like a difficult book to read, since Jacob and Lorenzo were fighting for the right to continue owning slaves. I might recommend this to a high school student who wanted to know more about the Southern motivation for fighting in the Civil War. Yet I may not feel comfortable reading this, knowing that Jacob and Lorenzo simply thought of owning slaves as "their way of life". At the same time, I appreciate how the author included a lot of historical information that provided the context for the war.
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Post by Kibetious » 31 Dec 2018, 00:06

Alicia09 wrote:
30 Dec 2018, 13:36
This sounds like a difficult book to read, since Jacob and Lorenzo were fighting for the right to continue owning slaves. I might recommend this to a high school student who wanted to know more about the Southern motivation for fighting in the Civil War. Yet I may not feel comfortable reading this, knowing that Jacob and Lorenzo simply thought of owning slaves as "their way of life". At the same time, I appreciate how the author included a lot of historical information that provided the context for the war.
I had never known that the South was motivated by the need to preserve their way of life during the Civil War. Thanks a lot for the reply.
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Post by C-Extra22 » 01 Jan 2019, 07:57

I like the fact that the author intertwines man themes to create a fascinating read. Thanks for the review.

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Post by gen_g » 01 Jan 2019, 10:44

This sounds like such a well-researched and well-constructed read! I'm definitely placing this on my to-read list. Thanks for the lovely review!

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Post by Kibetious » 01 Jan 2019, 11:58

C-Extra22 wrote:
01 Jan 2019, 07:57
I like the fact that the author intertwines man themes to create a fascinating read. Thanks for the review.
These themes are what make the story fascinating at the end. Thanks for the comment.
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Post by Kibetious » 01 Jan 2019, 11:59

gen_g wrote:
01 Jan 2019, 10:44
This sounds like such a well-researched and well-constructed read! I'm definitely placing this on my to-read list. Thanks for the lovely review!
It is a well-researched one indeed. The names of the army commanders are the ones we read in our history literature. Thanks for the reply.
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Post by kdstrack » 01 Jan 2019, 16:53

I like historical fiction stories, especially ones that are based on familial relationships. This sounds like an entertaining and informative read. This will be on my 2019 'to be read' list. Thanks!

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Post by Kibetious » 02 Jan 2019, 11:57

kdstrack wrote:
01 Jan 2019, 16:53
I like historical fiction stories, especially ones that are based on familial relationships. This sounds like an entertaining and informative read. This will be on my 2019 'to be read' list. Thanks!
I also like them a lot. This is an interesting one that you will definitely like. Thanks for the reply.
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Post by Sweet Psamy » 11 Jan 2019, 09:42

I appreciate the author's ingenuity especially as regards all the events flowing in a manner that was easy to understand.Commendable writing.

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Post by Kibetious » 12 Jan 2019, 04:07

Sweet Psamy wrote:
11 Jan 2019, 09:42
I appreciate the author's ingenuity especially as regards all the events flowing in a manner that was easy to understand.Commendable writing.
He did a commendable job indeed. Thanks for the reply.
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