Tag Archives: Civil War
The Spy Lover
About the Book:
Thrust into the savagery of the Civil War, a Chinese immigrant serving in the Union Army, a nurse doubling as a spy for the North, and a one-armed Confederate cavalryman find their lives inextricably entwined.
Fleeing drought and famine in China, Johnny Tom arrives in America with dreams of becoming a citizen. Having survived vigilantes hunting “yellow dogs” and slave auction- blocks, Johnny is kidnapped from his Mississippi village by Confederate soldiers, taken from his wife and daughter, and forced to fight for the South. Eventually defecting to the Union side, he is promised American citizenship in exchange for his loyal services. But first Johnny must survive the butchery of battles and the cruelties inflicted on non-white soldiers.
Desperate to find Johnny, his daughter, Era, is enlisted as a spy. She agrees to work as a nurse at Confederate camps while scouting for the North. Amidst the unspeakable carnage of wounded soldiers, she finds solace in Warren Petticomb, a cavalryman who lost an arm at Shiloh. As devastation mounts in both armies, Era must choose where her loyalties lie—with her beloved father in the North, or with the man who passionately sustains her in the South.
I am so awestruck by this story that it is hard to find words. The tale is phenomenally well-researched, but the reader doesn’t feel overwhelmed by the facts – they are simply the backdrop for this passionate epic. Kiana Davenport describes the brutalities of war (and life in general in the mid-1800s) in beautiful, horrible, sometimes extremely graphic detail.
Here are just two of the many things I learned about the Civil War from this book:
- Black people were not the only slaves – Chinese and Native Americans were also kidnapped and sold into slavery.
- Southern women grew poppies to supply opium to their troops since the Union was blocking shipments at the ports.
The Spy Lover highlights the senselessness of war, the choice of hope and courage in the face of insurmountable odds, and especially the question of what to do with the terrible things you’ve witnessed when your life goes back to normal. Era and Warren’s mismatched romance and Johnny’s “fish out of water” experiences help to humanize a story that I had only read before in history books or Gone with the Wind.
My rating: I give The Spy Lover five hard-tack biscuits. A must read!!!
I received a complimentary copy of this book through Charisma Media Book Tours. All opinions are 100% my own.
Author, CD Harper is pleased to announce his book, Covenant. This work is a historical fiction novel set during slavery and the Civil War and looks at the relationship of the slave master and his slave love. The story also delves into the impact of slavery, the war and the human impulse to love on lives of everyone on Covenant Plantation. Covenant is told from the perspective of a slave.
The Civil War provides a smoky background for this debut novel that delves into the uncomfortable friction that exists between the waning power of the Southern plantation culture and the emerging identities that lie beneath. The naive Seth Hunter Jr., whose existence has been mapped out for him by domineering patriarchs, finds himself forced to confront his life as pressures from the past and future force him from his pedestal. The divine nature of the American ideal of Manifest Destiny led earlier generations of Hunters from humble Northern beginnings to a precipice of Southern power embodied in Covenant Plantation, Seth Jr.’s inheritance. As the Civil War unseats the stability of the South, Seth’s own life unravels. The estate, the lifestyle and the woman he was given all become harder to hang on to as he struggles to fulfill his destiny.
About the Author:
Dr. Clifford D. Harper is a respected theatrical executive producer and playwright. His written works include Curse and Neva’s Tale. Neva’s Tale was produced by Theresa Larkin, directed by Ted Lange, and earned actor Larry Gammell Jr. an NAACP Award and another from L.A. Weekly in 1993 for his supporting role.
A retired Professor of Theatre Arts and Dance at California State University, Los Angeles, Clif served as the Chair of the Department of Theatre Arts where he established the “Theatre of the Twenty-First Century” and revived the Dance Kaleidoscope program in the LA community. During his tenure, he became the founding Executive Director of the Harriet and Charles Luckman Fine Arts Complex, where he developed the world-renowned Luckman Jazz Orchestra. Dr. Harper’s commitment to the arts was instrumental in facilitating the art retrospective: “African American Artists in Los Angeles, A Survey, Exhibition, 1945-2003.”
Prior to moving to Los Angeles, Clif taught for a year at Sangamon State University before moving on to Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, where he served as Chair of the Black Studies Program and Dean of General Academic Programs. Dr. Harper received an undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois, a Master’s in Theatre and Speech and became one of the first African Americans to earn a PhD. in English from St. Louis University
Born and raised in a segregated neighborhood of East St. Louis, Illinois, Dr. Harper graduated and later returned to teach at his high school alma mater, Lincoln High. Dr. Harper found this experience to be significant and rewarding. During this time, he discovered his passion for theater and found inspiration in his students, many of whom went on to have gratifying careers.
Dr. Harper’s many accomplishments have included: working with the renowned Katherine Dunham, receiving a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship Award, earning one of the earliest Certificates in Black Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and starting a “Forgivable Loan” program for female PhD’s at CSULA.
Clif and his lovely wife, Linda, have migrated north to the Oregon Coast, settling in the charming town of Gleneden Beach. Clif continues to write and is working on his next novel.
Interview with the Author:
TM: Please tell me about the path to publication for Covenant.
CDH: I have always wanted to be a novelist. Now that I am retired I can
give my full attention to creating a world that reflects my thinking
through characters and stories. There nothing more exciting and fun! The
creative process is a full body, mind, soul activity. I can not think of
of anything so fulfilling. So Covenant is number one! Frankly I had not
thought much about the publication of my work. My wife, Linda,
encouraged me to to take that step!
TM: What prompted you to make the switch from writing plays to writing books?
CDH: Most of my work life, I have written parts of novels between
the writing of plays. It was fun!!! Now the table is switched! I write
plays between the novels. I just completed the “working draft of a
play,” while I’m waiting to hear from a publisher about my second novel.
TM: What inspired you to write from the point of view of the plantation
CDH: I think the slavery experience in this country offers a
wealth of opportunities for exploration of the American character. The
literature of this country is lacking in this area. Was it censorship,
self-induced? The fear of really looking at the entire history of the
American character from a variety of points of view? Think about it!
What do we know about who we were during this time? And what impact did
or does that have on who we are today!!! Perhaps nothing at all!
You can read more about CD Harper and Covenant at http://www.cdharperbooks.com.