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.
Rated of 5
by 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.
Rated of 5
by Jan Z-R (Jefferson, SD)
Spy Lover by Kiana Davenport mostly takes place during the civil war and the brutality and horror of that war almost edges out the other characters of the story: Johnny Tom who fights for the North, his daughter Era who is a spy for the North, and Era's lover, the Confederate soldier Warren. Johnny Tom's character is enlarged by his being a Chinese immigrant and this fact adds more layers of intensity to this already intense story. Era's cover as a spy is a nurse in the war, the story begins with Era and Warren meeting each other as Era helps nurse Warren back to health from a wound. Their love affair deepens, as does the Era's guilt at the secret she is hiding from Warren. Era's being a spy is a result of her trying to find her father whose affiliation to the North is another secret Era is keeping from Warren. Nobody comes out clean in this book, especially the North or South "militaries", but the love and presence of the three main characters is amazingly told. I came away feeling like my life was enriched by reading about these three people, and they will stay with me for a long time.
Rated of 5
by Toby S. (Seattle, WA)
VERY moving and beautifully written book
"The Spy Lover" by Kiana Davenport will remain long in my memory. (Only a small percentage of the many books I read do.) This tragic story, while graphic in it's description of battles in the Civil War, delves deeply into the nature of the love, loyalty and racism. The characters of the novel were made real to me and I was deeply moved by this book and I highly recommend it not only for its historical content but for it's literary merit.
Rated of 5
by Elizabeth L. (Salem, Oregon)
Horrifying and Beautiful
This is one of those books that is both hard to pick up and hard to put down. Nearly every page contained a tragedy or degradation but it was all so wonderfully written that I was enthralled. The three main characters are well drawn and their actions and feelings are believable. I highly recommend it.
Rated of 5
by Mary S. (Bow, NH)
US Civil War's unknown heroes
This book is a must read for all, no matter your interest level in the Civil War. Told from the viewpoint of a Chinese immigrant, his daughter and her lover, it a poignant tale of how war effects everyone. I am a bedtime reader and this book kept me up late many nights because I would completely lose track of time. I highly recommend it to all - plenty of issues for book groups to discuss, not too mature for teens,
Rated of 5
by J W. (Davis, CA)
This book turned out to be a wonderful surprise for me. I abhor romance novels of any kind and was afraid, as I began reading, that this was what the story would be. It was so much more. It is a history of this country during the most horrific time of our existence as a nation. I think all the wars the United States has been involved in since the Civil War, including Viet Nam, pale in comparison. Ms. Davenport writes with such authenticity that the horrors are brought to life and placed at our feet, unable to be ignored. Her story presents her characters honestly. That her own family history contributed to this novel makes it even more interesting. I knew nothing of the 'foreign' element of the fighting forces and found this eye-opening. Then the aftermath of the war, the anger and hopelessness, brought about such awful atrocities toward anyone who could be used as a scapegoat. The story is sometimes a challenge due to its honesty. But the author's depiction of the strength of the human soul to survive and thrive is well worth the read. First, this is a war story. And this is a Love story - love in its many forms - and the absolution love can provide. This is a book I will not soon forget and one I will read again.
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