Bob S. (Lawrenceburg, IN)
an un-Civil War with no winners
This marvelous work has no heroes and no villains but only victims of the seemingly endless ritual called war. Kiana Davenport focuses on the lives of three people caught up in the absurd pursuit of a victory without victors, of a laurel wreath of dead flowers. A dedicated nurse who must use her position to be a carrier of death--her Chinese father, fighting for a nation which does not love him and for a cause in which he cannot believe--a young soldier who becomes the love of his enemy: these three are interconnected with all the others whose lives are blighted by slaughter without meaning. Only love can save any of them from the abyss of madness which the war opens for them--that love can bring compassion to the hearts of those who must harden themselves for the insanity which was the Civil War, and, by extension, every war that's ever been fought.
A H (Arvada, CO)
With real and accessible characters, this book is almost too hard to read at times, like reading a memoir more so than fiction. The warmth and humanity of the story allows you to move beyond the suffering and trust the author and the story she needs to tell.
Jill S. (Eagle, ID)
A Spy Lover
This book is not for the faint of heart. At times the descriptions of of the Civil War were distracting, but the main characters (Johnny Tom, Era, and Warren) are vivid and believable. Based upon her family history and historical fact, Ms. Davenport has written a book that has it all: love, brutality, suffering, and will evoke a lot of emotions. This book will be a great addition to any book club.
Cynthia S. (Rensselaer, NY)
The Spy Lover
The Spy Lover is an amazing novel set in the Civil War. I especially liked the fact that it was based on the author's family history. The characters were most memorable. The battle scenes were brutal and were described in horrific detail. This book would be rich for discussion. There are many topics to cover; to name a few: loyalties, racism, war conditions, casualties on both sides,love, family and forgiveness. This book would be a good one to followup with the current movie Lincoln.
Diane M. (Walden, NY)
the spy lover
This is such a great book. this book is a graphic story of the horrors of the civil war told from the viewpoint of a Chinese immigrant fighting for the union army and his daughter working as a nurse for the confederate army while spying for the union army.
I would highly recommend because it tells a story of the realities of war and the very human characters.
Nancy C. (Newton, KS)
The Spy Lover
I have read many books about the Civil War but this book had a profound effect upon me. The descriptions of war and battle seemed to take on a new quality as the characters revealed more of themselves and their feelings. At times it was difficult to read the reality of battle as it became so personal. One begins to realize that some things never change and I would guess that war is right at the top of the list. I couldn't help compare our servicemen returning home today after reading the following - "Those who survived down the years would be quiet men. Now and then they would remember the face of a dead boy and weep, as if that boy had been their child. For many of them, after Shiloh there would be no greed for life, no ambition. That single battle would be their youth, their age, their death."
Love stories weave throughout this novel. A daughter's love for her father; a boy's love for his brother and the Union spy's love for the Confederate soldier. Each expands the story and enhances it but I felt the author chose a convenient ending. It made me fell better but seemed a far reach. Perhaps love can conquer all.. I would recommend this book for it's beautiful descriptive narrative and it's ability to transport the reader back to a time and place we have rarely visited in this depth.
Kathy S. (Danbury, CT)
The Spy Lover
The Spy Lover is a captivating story set during the Civil War. I found myself engaged in the characters and curious to see how they all fared by the end of the book. Kiana Davenport writes beautifully, and her book is detailed without being tedious, however the last 60 pages dragged and the ending seemed rushed. A solid book with several themes suitable for book club discussions.