Mendie Karagantcheff Karagantcheff itibaren Dumari Buzurg, Bihar 841220, Hindistan
Finally, a novel set in Sweden without the snow and ice. However, the sweltering summer weather much like what I've had this summer is almost as bad. Quite a good novel.
A FAMILY HISTORY As a school kid, I was never good at memorizing historical dates and names. Without a personal connection, they slipped quickly from memory into oblivion. However, any time I could read a book, see a movie or a play that accomplished the feat of bringing history to life, I not only loved but also remembered it. And so it is with Jeffrey S. Hepple’s revolutionary war novel, “Gone For a Soldier.” His novel carries a double impact in that it is both our collective American--as well as the author’s personal—family history, as the character of John Van Buskirk, our guide throughout the novel, is based on the author’s maternal relations. The dapper Van Buskirk permits us a very intimate entrée to the founding fathers and the creation of the Declaration of Independence in this book, which breathes life into history. Before John Van Buskirk is fit to become the hero who smites large numbers of his enemies, he has a few lessons to learn. The first one is about women; the second is about fighting. He loses in both contests. First, the outrageous young Anna Livingston beats him up verbally and, second, the Livingston’s groom, villainous John Cavanaugh, beats him up physically in a stable brawl. But John learns. Smart man that he is, he learns that he will never defeat Anna in her determination to marry him. And he learns to fight, which stands him, and all of us, in good stead eventually in the good fight to win America’s independence from Britain. For those of us who love all the gory details, there are some great battle scenes in the book, such as the one against the Scots of the 42nd Royal Highland. And for those of us whose eyes mist over when reading the words of America’s Founding Fathers, there’s a wonderful scene of John (whose eyes do mist over) reading “The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America” to the assembled townsfolk at the Village of Indian Lake. While some of the characters are perhaps too large for life, you certainly won’t forget them quickly. John’s wife, Anna, is one of those. Her sharp tongue doesn’t only get her a husband, but gets her into serious trouble. I must say that there is more than one time when I lost patience with her character. Still, when she’s not being a drama queen and simply calls it like she sees it, you gotta love that Anna. The novel includes various revolutionary historic documents, which add to an already over-long book. I read it on Kindle, so can’t testify to the exact page length, but there’s enough material there for a saga. As a wordy writer myself, I still feel the book might profit from some cuts or might be published in sequels. On the other hand, this long novel gives us very personal glimpses into the lives of our founding fathers and mothers, such as Martha Jefferson talking to John of their new home at Monticello. “Gone For a Soldier” is must reading for anyone interested in the birth of our nation. For a writer to be able to write the history of his nation, as well as that of his own family, must be a dream come true. Kudos to Jeffrey S. Hepple, whose proud roots were the inspiration for writing this book!