I gave this book three stars instead of four because I felt it was over-written toward romance. I don't believe a man would have written this story th...moreI gave this book three stars instead of four because I felt it was over-written toward romance. I don't believe a man would have written this story this way, and I do not like novels in which you can tell, just by the way they are written, whether they have been written by a man or a woman.
George Mallory was 37 when he lost his life attempting to climb Mt. Everest in 1924. He was the man who said he wanted to climb a mountain "because it was there." His body was not found until 1999, and the body of the man with him, Andrew Irvine, has never been found. This novel is about his third and final effort to climb the mountain.
In particular, I did not care for the chapters from the point of view of Mallory's wife. If George Mallory was obsessed with climbing Mt. Everest, his wife was obsessed with him. Their love for one another would have been better served if it hadn't been constantly shoved in my face.
On the other hand, the interaction of the characters during the climb sequences and the descriptions of the effects of cold and lack of oxygen were so well written that I kept reading to the very end.
Overall, I'm glad I picked up this novel at my local library. I'm left wondering what kind of man was George Mallory truly? I knew nothing of him before, now I would like to know more. He comes off as somewhat self-obsessed as well as obsessed with the mountain. Perhaps all such "heroic" types are that way. He certainly was an intriguing fellow.
After a slow start, I got caught up in this story of a young woman in 1861 Tennessee consumed by vengeance for the death of her father.
As anyone who r...moreAfter a slow start, I got caught up in this story of a young woman in 1861 Tennessee consumed by vengeance for the death of her father.
As anyone who reads my reviews is aware, one of my criteria for a well-written novel is character development. There are plenty of interesting characters here, and our protagonist makes her way along her path of challenges, growing in the process as she should. Though I would have liked to see her come to the realization more gradually rather than from one end of the spectrum to the next. Perhaps more realization and denial on her part would have made for more interesting inner conflict.
Historical detail was amazing, perhaps too amazing. A writer needs to know when research interferes with good story telling. Sometimes slang and idioms were used in places that made the dialogue awkward rather than natural. Sometimes research became an "info dump" and brought me out of the mood and flow of the story. This happened particularly in the beginning chapters.
Despite these caveats, I would recommend this novel to anyone interested in this period of history.(less)
I happened to see this book on sale and am I glad I did. Fascinating stuff in here I haven't found in all the novels and nonfiction Civil War books I...moreI happened to see this book on sale and am I glad I did. Fascinating stuff in here I haven't found in all the novels and nonfiction Civil War books I have read over the years. Lots of photos, too, including pictures of currency, advertisements, newspapers, posters, drawings and maps.
Full of interesting little tidbits. In 1863 rent for a furnished house was $80 a month. "Irish hoist" meant a "kick in the pants." Cotton cost more than linen. Doctors of the time recognized tobacco as a health threat, and U. S. Grant died of throat cancer in 1885.
What did the average family eat? What did they do for entertainment? What did they read? What did it cost to live from day to day?
This is not a review so much as an update of the edition listed on Goodreads. The 2011 edition is no longer noted as illustrated by Russell Autrey; it...moreThis is not a review so much as an update of the edition listed on Goodreads. The 2011 edition is no longer noted as illustrated by Russell Autrey; it is edited by Wolfram M. Von-Maszewski.
I was in Texas in the summer of 2013 and picked up the revised and expanded 2011 edition which now includes maps of the land grants. I was in Washington County and picked up a local road map of the county and compared it to the Washington County land grant map included in the book. Readers should take note that the land grant maps included are not accurate in detail.
I have copied a number of maps of roads and trails of the area that were drawn in the nineteenth century and do not agree with one another as to location and names of roads, trails and waterways. I suspect that these land grant maps were originally drawn at that time. One can imagine the inaccuracies (minor, in most cases) that occurred. Readers should keep this in mind.(less)