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Shades of Gray: A Novel of the Civil War in Virginia
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Shades of Gray: A Novel of the Civil War in Virginia

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  571 ratings  ·  94 reviews
Cast your eyes back to the noble and daring achievements of men who preferred death to dishonor, and showed the world how they valued the rights and liberties of their land... Set in Virginia during the volatile period of the Civil War, Shades of Gray chronicles the clash of a Confederate cavalry officer with a Union spy as they defend their beliefs, their country, and the ...more
Paperback, 468 pages
Published January 19th 2008 by Patriot Press (first published January 1st 2008)
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I feel this novel should be filed under "chick lit" rather "historical fiction." In my opinion, it is a shallow imitation of Gone With the Wind and Romeo and Juliet, but not "comparable" as reviews have said. The amount of repetition is frustrating. James drags out conversations WAAAYYY longer than necessary, repeating the same dialogue and phrases over and over without further development. This story would have been more enjoyable if it was half the length, simply due to redundancy.
I enjoyed most of this book. The characters were interesting and the story was engaging. However, as some other reviewers have said, there were parts of the story that were quite annoying. When Alex and Andrea argued it went on and on and on. And they kept arguing about the same thing. I understand that the author was trying to show how dedicated each was to their convictions but it got to the point that I was annoyed. At one point, when they were arguing it appeared that the author was practici ...more
I received this book as a First Reads free giveaway and I was so excited when it finally came.
This story was beautifully written. Jessica James showed both sides of the story, both the Union soldiers who fought for the freedom of the oppressed and the Rebels who fought out of love of their land.
Alexander Hunter is a Confederate officer who is fearless in battle and treats his men like brothers. He fights the Union soldiers using bravery, luck, and fear that his reputation has gained. He and hi
I thought SHADES OF GRAY was an okay book. It was not a book I could not put down and I found myself pushing to get to the end. I was disappointed with much of the dialogue and what I perceived to be annoying back and forth petty arguments, when it was apparent that the two main characters had a love interest. But this kind of stuff annoys me, especially with a " seasoned" writer although I don't know if this is or is not the case with this author as this is the first book I've read by her. The ...more
3.5 stars I think. this sucked me in and I practically read all night. It had a bit more bad language than I was hoping but with the military theme I cant say I'm surprised. I thought some aspects were a bit tedious and long winded in the writing style but the story was superb. The author did her research about the period and it really gave me new perspective on the Confederate cause. There were times I was so frustrated with the characters' pride but it was true to the identity the author had b ...more
Overall, this book was okay. I have a weakness for women disguising themselves as men in historical novels, so I had high hopes for this story. Started very slowly, but I finished. I usually read novels much faster than I did this one.

The two main characters argued way too much - the same circular argument over and over. Definitely hindered the flow of the story.

How the flow of time was expressed bothered me. Days, even weeks, would be skipped at a time and there would be no indication that ti
Don't let the low rated reviews stop you from getting/reading this book. You won't be sorry.

I won't say too much about the low ratings other than the fact that I disagree with two statements: the book is similar to Gone With the Wind only because it is a romance and it is set during the Civil ends there. The second statement is that it doesn't fit in the historical romance definitely is historical and a romance.

On to my review: I enjoyed the book immensely. I enjoy reading boo
Patty Mccormick
I read this during my recent trip to Gettysburg. This is a great civil war novel. It is a little long, but it is worth spending your time on it. Well I should probably tell you the truth here, it is 522 pages. It contains espionage, love, war, and lots of conflict. The chapters are fairly short so one could read this in small doses.

I purchased this for myself in Gettysburg. Yes and you guessed it, I paid way too much for it there. It was written in 2008. Yes, I have to admit I was attracted to t
It may not be fair to review a book when I only read a quarter of it, but a quarter of it was enough to see that it is poorly written. As a huge fan of historical fiction and Gone With the Wind in particular, I find such comparisons offensive and I'm shocked by the high ratings it has received from many people. The dialogue was repetitive and contrived, the story jumped around aimlessly and the character development was substandard. It also switched perspective in 3rd person sort of limited in a ...more
Andrea Evans: teenager, Union spy--sometimes she dresses like a boy and other times as a Southern belle in her role as a spy. She is proud, stubborn, feisty, and like many teenagers she burns with zeal.

Alexander Hunter: proud Virginian, gentleman, and Confederate officer.

When they meet they argue about everything until you're almost tempted to knock them upside the head
with a 2 x 4!

Interesting characters, beautiful descriptions of the Virginia countryside, and good word-pictures about the uglin
Lorin Cary
I'm a bit conflicted, and would prefer a 3.5 rating. Still, it's easy to see why the novel won a number of prizes. It's well-told, a romance set in Virginia during the Civil War. Andrea Evans fled South Carolina and a step-father who absued his slaves. She sides with the Union and although ly 17, or 18, or 19, she performs dangerous scouting missions. She is nearly captured by stunningly handsome (of course) Alexander Hawthorne Hunter (who is modelled on the real John S. Moby). The inevitable wi ...more
I gave three stars for the author's valiant effort, research, and talent in writing Shades of Gray, a novel that is set during the Civil War. However, this book was not for me. It has been touted as the next Gone with the Wind. I cannot offer a literary comparison since I have not read Margaret Mitchell's classic. But it seems to me that Mitchell unabashedly wrote a romance novel set during the Civil War and she was very unapologetic about where she stood, politically, in her depiction of the wa ...more
A story of war.........The Civil War to be exact.
A story of hate, and love, and disagreement and misunderstanding. A passion for one's country and one's beliefs and the willingness to believe in and trust others.

Sinclair is a scout for the Union Army. Hunter is a Captain in the Cavalry of the Confederacy. In real life they should never meet but they do and sparks fly from the very beginning. As they meet again and again the sparks become brighter and more harmful until the fateful day when Hunte
Stanley McShane
War is said to be Hell and certainly none can compare to the brutal American Civil War; brothers fighting brothers. The Confederates in Virginia fiercely fought to protect their soil, their homes, their lives. Captain Alexander Hunter was crafted somewhat by a real life hero; his band of warriors keenly attuned to their calvary officer and his cunning leadership. Stealthily hitting the federal forces when and where they could, fighting a terrorist war of their own, demoralizing the federals wher ...more
This book gave me a bit more of an idea into the mindset of the Confederates and why, at least the Virginians, fought so vociferously. It was all about "honor" according to this book, altho I did not get a really clear understanding of what honor meant to them. It's a bit difficult to imagine why men would fight to the death over such an abstract idea unless it's inculcated into their culture and they all know what it means but I don't. I guess I'm giving a lame synopsis here. Let's just say tha ...more
If you like historical fiction, give this a shot. It's not horrible (although it doesn't come close to Gone With the Wind, as some reviews have suggested), although it is somewhat formulaic. The dialogue can be stilted and the storyline is implausible at times. It seems like a good second draft, but the book needs work by both the author and editor. I had higher hopes after seeing the ratings here.
Diana Shaffner
Shades of Gray is a most extraordinary novel with intriguing characters. Andrea is a young lady from noble southern family backgrounds who escaped her abusive home environment. Dressed as a boy, riding atop her big black stallion 'Justus', she joins forces with the north. She delivers messages back and forth between army outposts. Occasionally these situations lend themselves to some spying activities. Although the riding scenes are at times extremely unrealistic, it is much appreciated that Ms. ...more
Started out well, but then in the middle, there were too many petty arguments between Alex and Andrea, which became annoying, causing the war to be the background in the story, and not the main focus. Agree with another reviewer, that the ending was disappointing, and veered off in a different direction from the rest of the book.
This book is the original version to Noble Cause by Jessica James. The endings are different and I urge you to read both of them and decide which version you like best. This book will take you back to the Civil War, make you feel like you are living in it, and make you nostalgic for that old world romance. I loved it!
I probably wouldn't have tackled this book if I had bothered to notice its length first. It's not that I have a short attention span, it's just that my experience has been that books of this length invariably have their slow spots - usually after you've invested enough time into reading them that you don't really want to abort. This book was no exception. The book is about the civil war, and it seemed to drag on about that long. Well-written, but it is a script for an excruciatingly long emotion ...more
Beverly McClure
Move over, Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara. You’ve met your match. Captain Alexander Hunter, Confederate officer, is brave and daring, as well as handsome. Andrea Evans, Union sympathizer, is headstrong and impulsive, and like a chameleon changes her identity to suit the situation. When North meets South sparks are bound to fly, not only on the battlefield, but also in the lives of a man and woman that will do anything for the cause they believe in.

SHADES OF GRAY, the award winning historical
Eileen E Cartwright
Civil War Romance

This book is a different kind of Civil War Romance which features characters from both the North and South and is more about feelings than events. I found it somewhat enjoyable -- except for the ending. However, I also found it LONG and dragged out for my taste. I got lost in the long dialogs between the two main characters to the extent I missed things said that were important to the plot and I often had to turn back and search until I could make sense of what was going on. I w
It had interesting content but there was too much bantering between the two main characters.
Marilyn Beyer
The story is a tragedy, developing the blurred loyalties and tensions that divided family and friends as well as a country. The author stayed true to traditional American values of the period, while they struggled and argued and became entangled in each other's lives. The personal and obligational duality of their conflict, their over-arching value of honor and doing what is right, defines the conscience of this book. I loved Andrea Evans and Alexander Hunter! And I found this to be a heart-brea ...more
For those who enjoy historical fiction as well as lovers of romance, this book encapsules the Civil War through the rolling hills of Virginia. The author says the inspiration for his characters came from the real life exploits of Colonel John S. Mosby of the 43rd Virginia Calvary-Mosby's Rangers. Mosby and his band of recruits terrorized the Federal army in northern Virginia from 1863 to 1865. Duty to country was a noble ambition and those who fought believed that honor and principles were worth ...more
I love a good civil war book and that's what attracted me to this in the first it was a free kindle book. It's a historical romance set during the civil war and really provided good perspective on defending your beliefs/way of life, whether for the North or the South. I would've enjoyed knowing the names of the battles rather than just stating it was a battle. It was set in Virginia and was a beautiful love story although I got annoyed that the couple couldn't settle their differen ...more
Jimmie Kepler
Let me start with a confession. I am a man. I read Jessica James' “Shades of Gray: A Novel of the Civil War in Virginia”. I found the book interesting and engaging. I liked it!

The story is about Andrea (Sinclair) and Hunter. She is a southerner who works as a Union scout while hiding under a floppy hat impersonating a young man. Hunter is the confederate Calvary commander. The beginning and ending of the book were excellent and deserve five stars.

The middle part of the book slowed down a little
Jocelyn Green
If you love historical fiction, wartime romance and are looking for a book to really sink your teeth into, look no further than Shades of Gray: A Novel of the Civil War in Virginia by Jessica James. This novel is hefty- and by that I mean, you can really find an escape and get lost in this tale. It’s fairly lengthy, more than 400 pages, but I turned each one in eager anticipation of the next. That’s quite an amazing feat for any book!

The love story is compelling, the dialogue is intelligent and
I was introduced to Civil War history books at a very young age by an uncle that lived in the south. He sent many titles across The Mason Dixon Line to me in Michigan that fueled my love of American History and particularly American military history. As a youth I read Bruce Catton's "A Stillness at Appomattox" and Virgil Jones's "Gray Ghost and Rebel Raiders", while my friends read teen romance. My passion for history has not waned and while I enjoy reading fiction and particularly historical fi ...more
I picked this up because it was listed as historical fiction, but it lacked depth. Really superficial at times, occasionally some meaningful interactions, tons of convenient coincidences to help the story move along, but it was pretty engaging. War/spy action and Andrea's pretty intense character kept things interesting enough to keep reading, and thankfully the romance stayed PG, but overall it was a pretty ridiculous story that I read to pass the time and wouldn't recommend it.
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Jessica James is the first two-time winner of the coveted John Esten Cooke Award for Southern Fiction. She is a history buff and historical fiction author who resides in Gettysburg, Pa.

In addition to winning the Cooke Award, her novel, Above and Beyond, hit #1 on the Amazon bestseller list in the Christian historical fiction category on its first day of release. It was also a finalist in the Fict
More about Jessica James...
Noble Cause Above and Beyond: A Novel of the Civil War From the Heart: Love Stories and Letters from the Civil War The Gray Ghost of Civil War Virginia: John S. Mosby (Forgotten American Heroes) Liberty and Destiny: A Novel of the American Revolution

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