Publisher: Signalman Publishing (October 2, 2012)
Summary: “This historically based novel is a window into Alabama both before, during and after the Civil War. River Hunter is the son of a Cherokee mother and a Scotch-Irish father who has a unique perspective on a society that undergoes a radical shift forced on it by the War. River’s father is presumed dead after disappearing on a trapping trip into the mountains of the Carolinas, so, River’s mother gathers her children and they move to the cotton belt of Alabama to avoid being shipped west by President Jackson during the Removal time for Native Americans. River rapidly adapts to the new life and has an insatiable appetite for knowledge, reading books at every opportunity. In time he obtains a formal education at recognized academies and universities. Following his heroic service in the Confederate Army during the Civil War and schooling at one of the nation’s most prestigious law schools, River becomes an attorney. He is then betrothed to a beautiful young woman who has inherited a substantial plantation upon the death of her husband in the War. Many problems plague the young couple from the forces existing in the South after the War to the prejudicial attitudes of River’s inlaws to the polarized politics between the newly freed Slaves and their former owners. This fascinating novel exams all sides within the context of a very unique segment of American history.” (Amazon)
Normally, I don’t read historical novels – mainly they don’t really interest me. It’s really a hit or miss with me with most books, and unfortunately this book was a complete miss. This book received 5 star reviews on Amazon, and usually when it gets good reviews, I wonder if I’ve completely missed something in the book; and to be honest, I don’t care to reread it to see if I was mistaken.
I don’t know anything about the Civil War era South, therefore I can’t judge this book based on the accuracy of the details. Instead, I read this book from a completely literary standpoint.
If I were to be completely honest with you, dear follower, I’m having a very hard time writing this review. The Alabama Rebel was sent to us to review and I feel like I should write something positive about this book in exchange for the free pdf – and the 5 stars on Amazon make it seem like I’m completely missing the point of this story. Usually with reviews I would write about something I liked, something that could be improved upon, and something I disliked. But if i were to follow this format, this review would never be written simply because I have no idea what I liked about the book – if I even liked it at all.
As far as the storyline goes, it seemed fairly straight forward – boy grows up in unusual circumstances, goes through trials, goes away from home for a while to fight in the civil war, comes home alive, gets the girl, tragic end with silver lining. There were far too many time skips to portray the story in a convincing way. It was just a little boring. And with character development – there was none. River Hunter was not someone I could connect to. To me, everything came too easily for him. Good things and good things, then ooops bad thing, then bad thing, then oooh let’s send him into government!
I feel like as a character, River didn’t progress at all throughout the story. He was the exact same person he’s always been and that is usually an indication of bad planning. I assumed this book would have to do with living with a dual identity; but it didn’t seem like that was River. The only indication that I got that he was part Indian was either him saying it, people calling him an Indian, or his constant references to his deerskin clothing. It’s like they would touch upon something at one point and then completely forget about it. For instance, we get to a point where his mother reveals that he’s a chosen person of their tribe because he can see things and animals are okay with him. And then it has no relevance, whatsoever.
Part of me thinks that I’m rambling at this point, but I need to stop because I’ll continue talking about how much I did not enjoy this. I had to stop and force myself to keep going with the text because it needed to be finished.