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Erin G. (Dulles, VA)
The Spy Lover: not the book its title suggests
The title "The Spy Lover" implies a certain combination of intrigue and romance, but this book about the tragedies of the Civil War instead focuses on loss, desperation, courage in battle, and the toll of war on its survivors. Unlike most Civil War sagas, however, The Spy Lover explores the experiences of a diverse range of characters: a Chinese immigrant conscripted into the war, his part-Native American daughter. This book was not at all what I expected, but anyone interested in a different perspective on the Civil War will find it fascinating.
Kay K. (Oshkosh, Wisconsin)
The Spy Lover by Kiana Davenport
This book would be a civil war enthusiast's dream. The historical elements are detailed in their brutal reality. The underlying story of a Chinese immigrant, Johnny Tom, fighting as a Union soldier and his daughter spying for the Union as a battle field nurse brings home to the reader the toll on the human heart and soul. When it comes to taking sides on an issue the sides blur when the details narrow down to person to person . The reader learns an important lesson about love through Davenport's Warren Petticomb. This book was a satisfying read.
Carmen S. (Elkins, Arkansas)
Loved this book
I loved this story about the Civil War. The book made me feel I was there, and I felt the characters pain. Just a haunting, beautiful read.
Judith M. (San Diego, CA)
Horrifying yet Compelling
This is not your glory depiction of the War Between the States. It is graphic, emotional, introduces unknown to me facts about Chinese fighting in the war and rings true. I have always felt my letters written home by family members at the end of the war and their release from Union prisoner of war camps were sad and poignant, but this book helped me realize what they really went through.
Rebecca J. (Knoxville, TN)
The spy lover by Kiana Davenport
I had several books to read and was busy with the holidays when I received this book about Chinese immigrants in the Civil War! I was not excited - until I started the book. This is an absolutely beautiful story told by three characters - a Chinese immigrant who is fighting for the North, his long-lost half Chinese/half Indian daughter who is nursing and spying for the North, and a Confederate soldier who is falling in love with the daughter. The character descriptions are exceptional and I learned a lot of historical fact about the Chinese in the Civil War about which I was clueless. If you like historical fiction and/or a cry-your-eyes-out romance, this is the book for you!
Lucy B. (Urbana, Ohio)
The Spy Lover
No story that deals with the civil war (especially in light of the number of casualties on both sides, the maimed soldiers who go on living with their injuries, brothers fighting brothers) could be considered a "happy story." But reading on different levels gives us opportunities to think about all sides of situations. This novel by Kiana Davenport that also deals with the life in a war camp, immigrant soldiers, and nurses tending the wounded. Congratulations to the author for this deeply moving story. She has covered a lot of situations and also included some of her family history. I will be recommending this book to my friends.
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.
Janet P. (Houston, TX)
Tinker, Soldier, Spy
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.
The Civil War comes to life with Kiana Davenport's THE SPY LOVER. The author's graphic telling of a Chinese immigrant who had to escape China to save his life, only to be conscripted from a ship to serve in the Union Army, where he encounters
more hatred and prejudice from the troops and officers with whom he serves, is at times hard to read. But Johnny Tom is on a mission; he is searching for his wife and daughter. Davenport's story is one of love: love for one's fellowman, love for family and love for country. The imagery of the most gruesome settings -- field hospitals reverberating with the hum of saws; corpses littering the battlefields and poppy fields of worn women -- creates a vivid landscape. Johnny Tom's wisdom is what carries the book. Davenport has mastered the art of the novel.