Read what people think about The Spy Lover by Kiana Davenport, and write your own review.

Summary | Reviews | More Information | More Books

The Spy Lover

by Kiana Davenport

The Spy Lover by Kiana Davenport
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

  • Published in USA  Aug 2012
    303 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

About this book


Page 4 of 5
There are currently 38 reader reviews for The Spy Lover
Order Reviews by:

Write your own review!

Cynthia S. (Rensselaer, NY) (12/05/12)

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.
Kathy S. (Danbury, CT) (12/04/12)

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.
Nancy C. (Newton, KS) (12/04/12)

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.
Diane M. (Walden, NY) (12/04/12)

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.
Teresa K. (Ashburn, VA) (12/04/12)

The Spy Lover
The Spy Lover by Kiana Davenport is set in the Civil War during the period from 1862 to 1872. The main characters are Johnny Tom, a Chinese immigrant brought to America to work on the railroads. He is conscripted into the Confederate army but manages to escape and fights for the Union because he hates slavery having suffered a similar existence since his arrival in America and also because he has been promised citizenship in exchange for his military service. Era Tom is Johnny's lovely and exotic daughter who is a nurse for the Confederate army. She is also spying for the Union in hopes of finding her father and because the Confederates killed her mother, kidnapped her father and abused her. The third character is Warren Petticomb, a Confederate cavalry officer who loses his arm in battle and falls in love with the beautiful Era as she nurses him back to health.

The book is beautifully written in rich and lush language. The author describes the battles and horrific army camps full of grotesquely wounded and dying soldiers with unrelenting realism while portraying its characters' emotions with great sensitivity and compassion. The author has carefully researched the book which is particularly interesting because the events are presented from the perspective of minorities who participated in the Civil War, in this case Johnny and Era Tom. The overarching theme of the book is the juxtaposition of honesty and deceit especially as it relates to Era and Warren. Their love is intense; however, Warren's devotion to the Confederate cause and Era's role as a Union spy leads inevitably to a crisis that threatens their relationship as well as their ethics. How they deal with the situation provides the reader with an absorbing literary experience.
Deb Y. (Blanco, TX) (12/04/12)

Oh, how I loved this book!
This book may not be everyone's cup of tea (a Civil War novel) but it, for me, was one where I didn't skip a word because Ms. Davenport's writing was so wonderful. I will be going back and reading her other book in the hopes that it was equally good. Because the books I am treated to by BookBrowse are in so many different genres, I haven't found a bad one - some are just better than others - this is at the top of the stack so far. Please read it.
Mary Lou C. (Shenandoah Junction, WV) (12/03/12)

A personal side of war
I have read volumes on the Civil War and this novel is by far, one of the most graphic. If you tend to have a queazy stomach, you might want to skip this one. It paints a vivid picture of the atrocities of war and the personal tragedies and abuses suffered by three very interesting main characters. While the characters bring to life the abuses of women and non-whites during this period, the inhumanity of war is much broader. If you enjoy historical fiction, this is well worth reading. The author has based much of the story on her own family history.
Power Reviewer Carol T. (Ankeny, Iowa) (12/02/12)

Surprisingly excellent
Three alternating viewpoints makes this a difficult book to get into, but once I was, it was mesmerizing. And the research was impressive - I was right there with Johnny Tom, Era, and Warren.

More Information


One-Month Free Membership

Discover your next great read here

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Ghachar Ghochar
    by Vivek Shanbhag
    The Bengaluru (aka Bangalore) that has dominated economic news headlines over the past decade is the...
  • Book Jacket: Caught in the Revolution
    Caught in the Revolution
    by Helen Rappaport
    So taken were BookBrowse's First Impression reviewers by the inside look at the start of the Russian...
  • Book Jacket: Hillbilly Elegy
    Hillbilly Elegy
    by J.D. Vance
    In this illuminating memoir, Vance recounts his trajectory from growing up a "hillbilly" in ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Atomic Weight of Love
by Elizabeth J. Church

In the spirit of The Aviator's Wife, this resonant debut spans from World War II through the Vietnam War.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Mercies in Disguise
    by Gina Kolata

    A story of hope, a family's genetic destiny, and the science that rescued them.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Our Short History
    by Lauren Grodstein

    Lauren Grodstein breaks your heart, then miraculously pieces it back together so it's stronger, than before.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

A few books well chosen, and well made use of, will be more profitable than a great confused Alexandrian library.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

O My D B

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

Modal popup -