About Me I am a retired librarian and I now support books and authors through my reviews.

I have always loved to read and I was able to share that love through my work as a public librarian for 22 1/2 years. I now promote literacy by reading, and then writing reviews. I love to support authors by sharing my reviews with others!

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Across the Great Divide by Michael L. Ross: Review & Giveaway

Across the Great Divide by Michael L. Ross
Publication Date: May 14, 2019
Elm Hill
eBook, Paperback, Hardcover
Series: The Clouds of War, Book One
Genre: Historical/Christian/Military


Lexington, Kentucky, 1859. After saving John Hunt Morgan from a puma attack, fifteen-year-old farm boy Will Crump joins Hunt’s militia, the Lexington Rifles. Morgan mentors Will and enrolls him in the local university, where he hopes to study law. As tensions rise between the North and South, Will is torn between his loyalty to Morgan and his love for his family. Will’s father, sisters, and sweetheart follow the Union, while Morgan and Will commit to the South. As part of Morgan’s band, Will participates in ambushes and unconventional warfare until his first real battle at Shiloh. He fights bravely, but increasingly questions what the war is accomplishing, and whether his devotion to honor has led him astray. And where is God in all this killing? Will’s sister Albinia, friend of the Clay family, becomes increasingly aware of the plight of the slaves. When she finds Luther, a slave she knows, trying to escape, she must decide between her conscience, and her friends. She becomes involved in the Underground Railroad, helping slaves to freedom – but will it cost her love and her freedom? Will’s other sister, Julia, is approaching spinster status and despairs of ever meeting a man who can give her more than life on a farm until she meets Hiram Johannsen, a son of immigrants who owns a steamship company. They marry and she makes a new life in the North. When Hiram answers the call to fight for the North, Julia runs the steamboat company in her husband’s absence and uses her boats to help Albinia ferry escaped slaves to freedom. Her business relations put her in the perfect position to spy for the North. When the Confederates capture her, will she survive? Luther is one of the first slaves Albinia helps flee the South after his master cruelly abuses his mother and sister. He escapes with his family, and when war breaks out, he fights for the North as an auxiliary of the Third Ohio Cavalry, alongside Julia’s husband, Hiram, and against Morgan and Will. Luther has to confront the demons of his past, an abusive master, and a slave catcher that kills his little sister. Will the desire for revenge destroy him? Throughout the war, Will is forced to examine and question everything he believes in—his faith in God, his love for his family, his loyalty to Morgan, and his worth as a human being. Will and his family must somehow mend the torn fabric of relationships to find peace, and reach Across the Great Divide.

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Across the Great Divide is a history lover's dream! Michael L. Ross has written a story that is based on true people and actual events and he has successfully paired fact and fiction to give us an exceptional story. I am a native Kentuckian so I know about the Clay family in Lexington, John Parker and the Underground Railroad, John Hunt Morgan and his raids, and the horrible truth that Kentucky was definitely a divided state. Kentuckians were either strongly in favor of freeing the slaves or they were determined to keep them in bondage and just like Will Crump and his father, Kentucky fathers and sons really did fight on opposite sides.

This story covers six years in the life of Will Crump and we watch him change from a fifteen year old boy who was eager to learn and get an education to a twenty-one year old man who had already faced death and endured prison. The eager young man who had looked forward to his future had become a man needing to reconcile his past. There are also many other intriguing characters, some real and some fictitious, who are caught up in this war that divided families, Kentucky, and our nation; Ross has succeeded in capturing the emotions and actions of all involved.

This is the debut novel of Michael L. Ross and I look forward to reading his next book in The Clouds of War series. Across the Great Divide is excellent historical fiction!

I received a copy of this book from the author and Historical Fiction Virtual Tours. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"Ross’s gripping story follows a Kentucky family of modest means and the enslaved people they helped toward freedom. The depictions of slavery ring true, and the use of both historical and fictional characters fills out the probable feelings of people attaining liberty in the bloodiest of all our wars." -Daniel C. Snell, Ph.D., emeritus professor, University of Oklahoma, and scholar of the history of slavery
"Like a great roller coaster, Michael Ross’ debut novel goes up and down with personal crises and national conflict, but it also twists about unexpectedly from character to memorable character in a sprawling story of the Civil War. Will, an earnest young man whose faith and honor sometimes put him at odds with those he loves, is caught up in the struggles of a country grappling with its own destiny. The issues that compel and separate people in ‘neutral’ Kentucky as the war breaks out echo our own era. We, too, are caught in a great divide. If you love a good story pulled from history, and if you are person of faith, you will find it hard to put down “The Great Divide” until the last page." -Daniel A. Brown, PhD, Author of “Embracing Grace,” Pastor, International Speaker

About the Author

Michael Ross is a lover of history and great stories. He's a retired software engineer turned author, with three children and five grandchildren, living in Newton, Kansas with his wife of thirty-eight years. He was born in Lubbock, Texas, and still loves Texas. The main character of "Across the Great Divide", William Dorsey Crump, is one of the founders of Lubbock and Shallowater, Texas. Michael knew Will's granddaughter when he was a child. He has written a scholarly article on Will Crump for the Texas Historical Society, published in the Handbook of Texas Online, and has sold short stories in the past. This is his first novel and the first in the Across the Great Divide series. Michael attended Rice University as an undergraduate, and Portland State University for his graduate degree. He has degrees in computer science, software engineering, and German. In his spare time, Michael loves to go fishing, riding horses, and play with his grandchildren, who are currently all under six years old. He sees many parallels between the time of the Civil War and our divided nation of today. Sanctuary cities, immigration, arguments around the holiday table, threats of secession - all are nothing new. Sometimes, to understand the present, you have to look at the past- and reach Across the Great Divide.

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Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, October 7 Review at Historical Fiction Reviews 
Tuesday, October 8 Excerpt at Maiden of the Pages 
  Thursday, October 10 Feature at I'm All About Books 
  Friday, October 11 Review at Red Headed Book Lady 
  Saturday, October 12 Review at Reading is My Remedy 
  Monday, October 14 Review at Al-Alhambra 
  Wednesday, October 16 Review at Stories Can Make Us Fly 
  Friday, October 18 Excerpt at 
  Sunday, October 20 Review at Locks, Hooks, and Books 
  Wednesday, October 23 Feature at The Caffeinated Bibliophile 
  Friday, October 25 Guest Post at Passages to the Past 
  Monday, October 28 Review at Passages to the Past 
  Tuesday, October 29 Feature at CelticLady's Reviews 
  Thursday, October 31 Review at Older & Smarter? 
  Friday, November 1 Interview at Passages to the Past 
  Monday, November 4 Excerpt at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots 
  Wednesday, November 6 Review at Just Another Reader 
  Thursday, November 7 Feature at Coffee and Ink


During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of Across the Great Divide! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on November 7th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open internationally.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

ENTER HERE  Across the Great Divide

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