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October 2016: Historical Fiction > Coal Black Horse by Robert Olmstead (3 Stars)

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message 1: by Charlie (last edited Oct 22, 2016 01:27PM) (new)

Charlie  Ravioli (charlie_ravioli) | 393 comments So maybe I'm biased because I loved Olmstead's last book (The Coldest Night) so much and it was my introduction to his writing, but I'm sorry to say I didn't like Coal Black Horse nearly as much (understatement).

Coal Black Horse is a story of fourteen year old 'boy', Robey Childs, who leaves his mother (at her direction) to go find her husband/his dad, a soldier fighting in the Civil War. Robey is guided thru his journey by a majestic and stately horse that is the color of coal black.

I like the Civil War and I like historical fiction and I like Olmstead's writing style (a mix of Hemingway and McCarthy) but this one just didn't do it for me. It's essentially a coming of age story (and boy does Childs come of age - like 14 going on 45). I think my expectations (or better put, my hope) was that it was going to be as good, if not better than The Coldest Night. I read it in a number of sittings and can't say that I ever really got into it. It's not a long book (224 pages) but it seemed longer. The Coldest Night and Coal Black Horse share many of the same themes so I think I may owe it to myself (and Olmstead) to give this book another try another time.

The descriptions of the post battle Gettysburg carnage are some of the most brutal and visceral written images of war's destruction I have ever read. It makes the first 30 minutes of Saving Private Ryan look tame. Not for the faint of heart.


message 2: by Booknblues (new)

Booknblues | 5494 comments I loved this book. I'm sorry you didn't like it more.


message 3: by Charlie (new)

Charlie  Ravioli (charlie_ravioli) | 393 comments Booknblues wrote: "I loved this book. I'm sorry you didn't like it more."

I'm sorry too. I think I just wasn't in the right frame of mind.


message 4: by Regina Lindsey (new)

Regina Lindsey | 1005 comments Oh my! That sounds awfully graphic! Great review though


message 5: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 5632 comments I've not read Olmstead, but this review piques my interest.


message 6: by Charlie (new)

Charlie  Ravioli (charlie_ravioli) | 393 comments Book Concierge wrote: "I've not read Olmstead, but this review piques my interest."

I LOVED The Coldest Night!


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