Monday, June 7, 2010

Abandoned Book: A Separate Country

Author: Robert Hicks
Format: hard copy  432 pgs
Characters: Eli Griffin, John  Bell Hood, Anna Marie Hennen Hood
Subject: I WISH I KNEW!!!
Setting: New Orleans post civil war
Genre: Historical (?) Fiction
Source: My own shelves (won in a contest last year)
Challenge: Read from my Shelves

I really wanted to like this book....the cover is appealing, I love New Orleans, and I generally like historical fiction.  I had seen several reviews which indicated that this one took a while to 'get into' so I gave it 180 pages!!!  I'm officially declaring it over, done, not to my liking.  Supposedly it is the story of General John Bell Hood, one of the most controversial Confederate generals, and of his wife Anna Marie, as told by their memoirs.  Bell has written a book to explain himself and seek forgiveness for his monumental blunders that cost thousands of lives during the war.  I found this frame for their search for justification and redemption BORING to say the least.

We  discussed this one at our senior center book group this morning, where they were gracious enough not to ask me to eat crow after I apologized for ever suggesting this ponderous package of pages.  We were equally divided between liking (finishing) and not liking (abandoning) the book, although I read much more than the others who bailed.  Most said they at least learned a little about the man (we all are great internet searchers), but found the writing style less than encouraging.  I suppose this is another reason I didn't like the book: I really resent it when I have to go do ponderous research to get a good setting and background before I'm able to read a piece of FICTION.  Different story if it's supposed to be history, but this one is fictional.

Those who felt it was a worthwhile read were the civil war buffs, several of whom are not normal fiction readers but felt this read more like a memoir.  Ok .... if you say so, but it's sure not going onto my best of the year pile.  Nor is it going onto the worst.  It's just a my candidate for most boring historical fiction of the year.


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  2. Sorry to hear you didn't like this book. I'm going to put it farther down on my TBR list now. I liked the cover too and didn't imagine it to be boring! Thanks for the review!

  3. Nooo! I've wanted to read this but I keep hearing similar things from other reviewers about it. Oh, well! You can't win them all!

    Thanks for the honest review.

  4. Different strokes for different folks for sure. I loved this book although I'm one of the people who found it difficult to get into. But then I'm a 19th century American history nut, so I guess that explains it.

  5. Ha! I wish I had abandoned this one, but I had to review it! I agree, it was BORING!

  6. I would have recommended this one too. I liked it but then I'm a Civil War era fan. I'm sorry it didn't work for you. The cover was gorgeous though.

  7. Yeah, if you're reading historical fiction you want it to at least be a bit interesting. I like the cover too though. You made me laugh with "Subject: I Wish I Knew!!!" :)


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