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Shades of Gray

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  1,468 Ratings  ·  195 Reviews
The award-winning historical fiction novel Shades of Gray chronicles the clash of a Confederate cavalry officer with a Union spy as they defend their beliefs, their country, and their honor. This epic love story illuminates the fine line between friends and enemies at a time when traditions and principles were worth defending at all costs. In its review, the Book Connectio ...more
Paperback, 468 pages
Published January 19th 2008 by Patriot Press (first published January 1st 2008)
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Jan 20, 2012 Mitzi rated it it was ok
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 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
May 28, 2011 Shannon rated it really liked it
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
Oct 27, 2012 Bonnie rated it liked it
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
Jul 14, 2012 Susanne rated it liked it
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
Jun 22, 2014 Lauren rated it did not like it
Shelves: gave-up
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
Kristin Pace
Nov 27, 2014 Kristin Pace rated it it was amazing
In a nation where Northerners and Southerners alike still occasionally need to be reminded “Do not re-fight the war,” it is apparent that echoes of a war fought nearly 150 years ago still linger. It is rare, then, to look upon the war and see beyond the issues to the people, the flesh and blood, whose lives and loyalties were tested in a bitter and deadly upheaval of American history. Yet author Jessica James, in her novel Shades of Gray: A Novel of the Civil War in Virginia or Tale of the War f ...more
Patty Mccormick
Jul 14, 2013 Patty Mccormick rated it it was amazing
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
Stanley McShane
May 08, 2014 Stanley McShane rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 20, 2014 Scot rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book description tricked me a bit—I was expecting historical fiction about the Civil War, and was even willing to accept a strong female lead capable of outriding, outfoxing, and outspying all the enemy combatants she encounters while disguised as an underage teen recruit boy soldier as we learned more about military strategies and maneuvers. However, it turned into a major love story, evoking some of the more troubling mythical components of the GWTW fantasy, such as all slaves on plantati ...more
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
Jun 25, 2013 Patricia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
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
Kathy Inozarks
Mixed feelings.
I really enjoyed this book, the writer portrayed a real feel for the war, a good love story I ended up staying up late to finish. I cried at the ending hoping it wasn't so --and then on the next page the author says well if you didn't like this ending then read this second book for a different ending-that just ruined the book's story for me and I felt like I just wasted my time reading it never heard of someone writing two different books of the same story like this-glad I happen
Jun 02, 2014 Jenna rated it it was ok
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.
Apr 12, 2013 Rebecca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
May 17, 2014 Anna rated it liked it
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.
Suzanne Petrella
Too long

The story was at its bare bones a good one. It was ridiculously repetitive and the characters were predictable. It would have been a good short story. But guess who couldn't put it down?
Jan 16, 2012 Joyce rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It had interesting content but there was too much bantering between the two main characters.
Feb 18, 2017 Alisa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It's the rare novel that I can't finish. First, I can get interested in any topic. Second, I'm compulsive about reading--when I start a book, I MUST finish it. So if I just can't power through it, well, it must be awful.

And Shades of Gray is awful in just about every way. There's the trite storyline: sassy woman gets herself in big mess and must be rescued by the man who will ultimately tame her and win her love. Blech. Really, ladies, we deserve better. Sexist, sexist, sexist. Then there's the
Feb 25, 2017 Micki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shades of Gray.

James makes the characters in "Shades of Gray" come to life with a descriptive brilliance. The plot goes through quite a few twists and turns to get to an expected end.
Del Grindle
Mar 16, 2017 Del Grindle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This may be The Best book I have read in a very long time ~*~ It grabbed me & did not let me go ~*~ I laughed & cried ~*~ could not put it down until I had no words to read!!! I love it!!Thank You Jessica James!!
Janet Eshenroder
One and a half stars. Maybe. I read it (or skimmed it) so I felt guilty giving it one star. I purchased this book after seeing the two-sentence blurb on BookBub. I like tales of spunky women who dress up like men and go off to fight the war. I assumed this was historic fiction.

The book was not what I expected. The writing itself presented such a problem (more on this later) that I became curious how this novel ever won an award. A little searching and I learned The John Esten Cooke Fiction Award
Jocelyn Green
Feb 13, 2012 Jocelyn Green rated it it was amazing
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 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
Jimmie Kepler
Jan 09, 2012 Jimmie Kepler rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 22, 2016 Joleen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Okay...what I didn't know was that this book has been rewritten and now being called Noble Cause. Apparently it has a different ending than this book. I wish I had that book instead. I read reviews when I was 95% done with this one and chose to not read the rest due to the sad ending.

This was a VERY well done book. Intelligently written and so well developed.
1) The characters were wonderful. Hero and heroine (Alex and Andrea) had an attraction under great amounts of animosity and distrust due t
Jan 10, 2017 Jen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great story!

This was a well written story with believable characters. It reminded me of "Ashes in the Wind" by Woodwiss and it was just as good.
Beverly McClure
Feb 24, 2014 Beverly McClure rated it it was amazing
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
Lorin Cary
Nov 19, 2014 Lorin Cary rated it really liked it
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
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Jessica James is an award-winning author of suspense, historical fiction, and military fiction ranging from the Revolutionary War to modern day.

She is the only two-time winner of the John Esten Cooke Award for Southern Fiction, and was featured in the book 50 Authors You Should Be Reading, published in 2010.

Her novels appeal to both men and women and are featured in library collections all over
More about Jessica James...

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“of blood flowing forth, it appeared a bullet” 0 likes
“His tactic of forcing the enemy to watch, wait, and wonder when he would strike strained their resources and their nerves more than an outright battle.” 0 likes
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