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Jean

I am an avid eclectic reader.

Santa Cruz, CA, United States | Member Since 2010

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HELPFUL VOTES
  • 548 reviews
  • 585 ratings
  • 1082 titles in library
  • 49 purchased in 2014
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  • Shiloh

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Dusty Rhodes
    • Narrated By Gene Engene
    Overall
    (28)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (23)

    The Civil War made him a man. The battle of Shiloh made him a hero and gave him a nickname that stuck. The notorious Union prisoner of war camp made him a killer of his fellow prisoners in "Gladiator" contests in order to survive. But the killings brought haunting nightmares that wouldn't end until he settled an old score with a Union Colonel determined to see Shiloh dead.

    Jean says: "End of the Civil War"
    "End of the Civil War"
    Overall
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    Story

    This story starts in a Union run POW camp in Illinois and Shiloh is forced to fight another prisoner to the death to entertain the Union Colonel and his men. The war ends and Shiloh goes home to a town with under currents and corruption. Some one gave the Union troops the names of the boys that joined the South and their families were killed, including Shiloh's parents. Dealing with that, Shiloh, also has to deal with the Union Colonel. Lots of action and suspense and generally a good western story. Gene Engene does a great job narrating western stories. If you enjoy a good western you will enjoy this book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Marne, 1914: The Opening of World War I and the Battle That Changed the World

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Holger H. Herwig
    • Narrated By Kevin Stillwell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (27)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (27)

    The long-term repercussions of the Marne were tragic: four more years of what the future German military historian Gerhard Ritter, a veteran of World War I, called the "monotonous mutual mass murder" of the trenches. During that time, Britain and the Empire sustained 3.5 million casualties, France 6 million and Germany 7 million. Without the Battle of the Marne, places such as Passchendaele, the Somme, Verdun, and Ypres would not resonate with us as they do.

    Dale H. Reeck says: "Strong Text"
    "Herwig has new information about the battle"
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    The battle of the Marne is regarded as the most decisive land battle since the allies defeated Napoleon at the Waterloo in 1815. The Marne was the opening battle of World War One. Herwig primarily looks at the battle from the German view point. Once the decisions that led to the war have been dealt with Herwig covers the mobilization of both sides, and the respective war plans. He notes, however, that both French and German war plans were not nearly as well developed as earlier scholarship has argued. Herwig also provides a careful analysis of the strengths and weakness of the British, French, German and Belgian armies. The author then goes in-depth of the conduct of the campaign. Herwig criticism of Helmuth Von Moltke, German Chief of General Staff, conduct of the campaign is not related to any change in the concept of the plan, but rather to Moltke’s failure to exercise any control over the German forces as they went forward. Moltke tended to stay far away from the action and the means of communication available did not allow for close supervision. Conversely, Moltke’s opponent French General Joseph Joffre took a much more hands-on-approach. Joffre’s skill at maintaining command and control improved as the French retreated on Paris. Using material from the East German archives after the end of the Cold War Herwig carefully reconstructs the controversial mission under taken by OHL staff officer Richard Hentsch in September 1914. The end result of which was order issued to German right wing Armies to retreat, marking a failure of the campaign. Using the material from East German archives, he found that Hentsch did not give the order it was General Karl Von Bulow, Commander of the German Second Army, who did have loose authority over General Alexander Von Kluck’s First Army. The German’s retreat a short distance and dug in building trenches and the allies followed and the war changed into a stationary war from a mobile war. Herwig regards the battle of the Marne impact to have been spectacular: Germany was denied victory and hegemony over Europe; France was spared occupation; Britain maintained its foot holds on the continent. Without the Marne, places such as Verdun, the Somme, and Passchendaele would not resonate with us as they do. Without the Marne, no Lenin, no Stalin, No Hitler. The 100th anniversary of the Marne will soon be upon us, we need to remember and honor the 200,000 plus men that died in the Battle of the Marne. General Joseph Joffre, the French Commander said “I don’t know who won the battle of the Marne, but if it would have been lost, I know who would have lost it.” Kevin Stillwell did a good job narrating the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Destroyer Angel: An Anna Pigeon Novel, Book 17

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Nevada Barr
    • Narrated By Barbara Rosenblat
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (49)
    Performance
    (47)
    Story
    (48)

    Anna Pigeon, a ranger for the U.S. Park Services, sets off on vacation - an autumn canoe trip into the Iron Range in upstate Minnesota. With Anna is her friend Heath, a paraplegic; Heath’s 15-year-old daughter, Elizabeth; Leah, a wealthy designer of outdoor equipment; and her daughter, Katie, who is 13. For Heath and Leah, this is a shakedown cruise to test a new cutting-edge line of camping equipment. The equipment, designed by Leah, will make camping and canoeing more accessible to disabled outdoorsmen.

    James R. Ellis says: "Classic Nevada Barr"
    "survival"
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    Nevada Barr’s fans know Anna Pigeon, her Park ranger protagonist; in this 17th book in the series Barr brings us a survival thriller instead of the usual mystery story. The biggest surprise in this riveting novel is Anna; we get to meet her in her survival mode. We know who the bad guys are from the start. Anna is on vacation with 2 friends and their teenage daughters. One friend, Heath Jarrod is a paraplegic. Long timer readers will remember her from “Hard Truth” in 2005. The other is an engineer friend who is designing a wheelchair for Heath for use in the wilderness. They are on a canoe trip in Minnesota’s Iron Range. Anna was on a solo canoe ride when the Kidnappers enter the camp. She and the injured family dog then trail after them waiting for a chance to rescue her friends. Barr, who once lived in Minnesota, creates an authentic sense of place. The motivation for the kidnapping once revealed is reliably inventive and contemporary. This novel brings us a different Anna from prior books. Watch carefully during the story for information about destroyer angel you will find it interesting. I enjoyed the golden voice of the Audi Award winning narrator Barbara Rosenblat.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • By the Rivers of Water: A Nineteenth-Century Atlantic Odyssey

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Erskine Clarke
    • Narrated By Mirron Willis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (3)

    In early November 1834, an aristocratic young couple from Savannah and South Carolina sailed from New York and began a seventeen-year odyssey in West Africa. Leighton and Jane Wilson sailed along what was for them an exotic coastline, visited cities and villages, and sometimes ventured up great rivers and followed ancient paths.

    Jean says: "freed American slaves return to Africa"
    "freed American slaves return to Africa"
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    This is a book about slavery. Erskine Clarke’s engrossing, elegantly written history of the Wilson Odyssey involves much more than the 17 years they spent in malarial stations of Cape Palrnas, on the southeast coast of Liberia and at Boraka, a onetime slave barrack near Libreville in Gabon. It tells of human nature and the power that cultures and environments have upon it. The book opens with the history of the slaves of the Bayard and Wilson families then goes into the story of John Leighton Wilson, son of a prosperous cotton farmer in the Cypress Swamps of Black river, South Carolina and of Wilson’s wife Jane Bayard, daughter of a cotton and rice plantation family of Savannah, Georgia. In 1831 they left the United States and began missionary service among the Grebo and Mpongwe peoples of West Africa. They had freed their slaves and took with them the Grebo’s that wish to return to Africa. Some stayed at the Black River plantation and the ones in Savannah moved to find work. The book then tells the history of the formation of Liberia by the American former slaves. The Wilson’s would reshape their thinking about human freedom in their years in Africa. They had to deal with their own “missionary hubris,” cultural imperialism, tribal fetishes, incessant warfare among the native people, diseases and interference from mission authorities at home. They return home at the beginning of the Civil war with all its turmoil. I found the epilogue fascinating, as Clarke tells about the offspring of the original people in the story. One I found most interesting was Joe Robinson a slave at the Black River plantation, he chose to stay and work at the plantation when he was given his freedom and later he moved into town and was active with the black church in the town. His children all moved away were educated and had children. Clarke tells of Joe’s great, great granddaughter who was educated at Yale and Harvard coming to speak at the Church and visit his grave. She was Michele Obama. Clarke is the Bancroft Prize winner, the most prestigious of the history awards, in 2006. Mirron Willis did a good job narrating the book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • A Sliver of Light: Three Americans Imprisoned in Iran

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Shane Bauer, Joshua Fattal, Sarah Shourd
    • Narrated By Michael Goldstrom, Julia Whelan, Tristan Morris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (10)

    Three young Americans captured by Iranian forces and held in captivity for two years tell their story.

    In summer 2009 Shane Bauer, Josh Fattal, and Sarah Shourdwere hiking in Iraqi Kurdistan when they unknowingly crossed into Iran and were captured by a border patrol. Accused of espionage, the three Americans ultimately found themselves in Tehran's infamous Evin Prison, where they discovered that pooling their strength of will and relying on each other were the only ways they could survive.

    Jean says: "How a fun day hiking can change your life"
    "How a fun day hiking can change your life"
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    This book is written by the three American Hikers arrested by Iran in 2009 for crossing into Iran while hiking. Bauer and Shourd were living in Damascus attending university. Fattal was a journalist friend who came to visit. They decided to take a weekend trip to a popular vacation area for visitors to the Middle East, in Iraq’s Kurdish area which is untouched by the war. They make a point in the book of saying they did not knowingly cross the border of Iran, a soldier waved them to him and they walked over to see what he wanted and that was when they cross over. They were taken to Tehran’s Evin prison and were accused of illegal entry and espionage. The book gives an excellent account of their life in the Prison and of the interrogations they underwent. They were held in solitary confinement but treated better than the other prisoners. Eventually the Bauer and Fattal were placed together in a cell but Shourd remained in isolation for 13 months before she was released. Bauer ant Fattal remained in isolation in the prison for another year before they were released. They say the isolation was the most difficult part of the stay; it took away means of measuring their existence in relationship to time, events, or people and the self lost caused depression, paranoia, and anger. The anger about being a toy of international and internal politics comes across in the book very clearly. They also felt the United States did nothing to obtain their release. Instead they give the credit for their release to the Sultan of Oman who’s envoy did the negotiations as well as paid the million dollar fine and flew to Iran to bring them to Oman. They also give credit to the head of Iraq’s Kurdistan and Switzerland for their help in obtaining their release. The book is divided into segments with each writer telling their story. Over all the story is interesting about what they did to survive in the prison, and what their families did to obtain their release. If they did not have families fighting for them they would still be in prison. What kept going through my mind while reading the story was this could have happened to me or any tourist on vacation. The book was narrated by Michael Goldstein, Julia Whelan and Tristan Morris.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Heart of Everything That Is: The Untold Story of Red Cloud, An American Legend

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Bob Drury, Tom Clavin
    • Narrated By George Newbern
    Overall
    (29)
    Performance
    (28)
    Story
    (28)

    The great Oglala Sioux chief Red Cloud was the only Plains Indian to defeat the United States Army in a war, forcing the American government to sue for peace in a conflict named for him. At the peak of their chief’s powers, the Sioux could claim control of one-fifth of the contiguous United States. But unlike Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, or Geronimo, the fog of history has left Red Cloud strangely obscured. Now, thanks to painstaking research by two award-winning authors, his incredible story can finally be told.

    Melinda says: "The Irresistable Force Paradox: Manifest Destiny"
    "Interesting"
    Overall
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    “The Heart of everything that is” is a Sioux expression for their sacred homeland in the Black Hills of South Dakota. I was familiar with all the battles, people and problems presented in the book but this is the first time I have encountered it all in one place. Drury and Clavin chronicled in great detail the shameful treatment of the Indians across the plains and the destruction of their way of life. Red Cloud (1821-1909) chief of the Oglala Sioux presided over a vast swath of the western United States, from Canada to Kansas, from Minnesota to Wyoming. Red Cloud’s father died of alcoholism, so Red Cloud never drank and hated the Whiteman who provided the “fire water”. The author’s tell the tale of the Fetterman Massacre and the battles along the Bozeman trail in great detail. Red Cloud had the unique ability to unite various tribes of the Sioux, as well as the Cheyenne, and Arapaho to fight the white men. Red Cloud changed his battle tactic to keep the Army off guard. The defeat of Capt. Fetterman was the largest defeat of the U.S. Army by the Indians up to that date. Of course, eleven years later Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse would “chastise” George Armstrong Custer at the little Big Horn using the tactics they learned from Red Cloud. Red Cloud proved to be not only a brilliant military tactician but a shrewd negotiator. He went to Washington and secured land in Nebraska. The reservation was named after Red Cloud. Of course, the government took this land away from them when settlers wanted the land. Red Cloud and his people were moved to the grim Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Red Cloud took repeated trips to Washington seeking better treatment for his people. Lots of famous names dance e across the pages such as Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, Man afraid of his horse, Jim Bridger, President Grant and Hays, Col. Henry Carrington, Capt. Fetterman, Phil Kearny, Ridgway Glover, John Protégée Phillips. I found it great to have all these events and people I was aware put into one place in chronological order. The treatment of the Native Americans is one of the more disgraceful events in our history. If you enjoy history you will enjoy this book. George Newbern did a good job narrating the book.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Semper Fidelis: A Novel of the Roman Empire

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Ruth Downie
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (198)
    Performance
    (178)
    Story
    (175)

    As mysterious injuries, and even deaths, begin to appear in the medical ledgers, it's clear that all is not well amongst the native recruits to Britannia's imperial army. Is the much-decorated centurion Geminus preying on his weaker soldiers? And could this be related to the appearance of Emperor Hadrian? Bound by his sense of duty and ill-advised curiosity, Ruso begins to ask questions nobody wants to hear. Meanwhile his barbarian wife Tilla is finding out some of the answers....

    Margaret says: "Hadrian is here!"
    "Emperor Hadrian pays a visit"
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    Downie set the story of Semper Fidelis book 5 of the series, in 2nd century Roman Britain during Hadrian’s rule. The protagonist Gaius Petreius Ruso, a Roman Army Medical officer and wife Tilla, a native Briton are back with the 20th legion. The Emperor Hadrian and Empress Sabina are visiting England. Ruso and Tilla are posted to fortress Eboracum (modern day York) only to find things are going seriously wrong there for the legion’s British recruits. Mysterious injuries and deaths have occurred. Ruso runs into problems with Centurion Geminus when he starts asking questions. Ruso suspects Geminus is preying on the recruits, how, why he set out to find out. Tilla brings to the Empress attention the plight of the recruits. I particularly like the section of the book when the British recruits appeal to the Empress Sabina to accept there petition and help them. They are chanting Sabina, Sabina and the Empress responses to them in such as way to reveal she has had very little attention paid to her. Downie does factually portray the relationship between Hadrian and Sabina. There are many twists, turns and setbacks for the protagonist. The characters major and minor are well drawn. The author does an enormous amount of historical research and weaves this into the story with such a light hand that you’ll hardly notice you’re being educated as well as entertained. I like the authors note at the end of the book providing the historical facts provided in the story as well as the modern day location in the city of York that are presented in the book. There is proof of the abysmal treatment of native recruits to the legions in Britain in the “Vindolanda Tablets” dated from 85 -122 CE they also tell of Hadrian’s visit to Britain in 122 CE. The award winning, Simon Vance does a super job narrating the story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Tamerlane: Conqueror of the Earth

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Harold Lamb
    • Narrated By Charlton Griffin
    Overall
    (135)
    Performance
    (55)
    Story
    (52)

    In yet another superb historical work, Harold Lamb brings the mighty Tatar leader to vivid life and shows how this ruthless commander used his superior intellect and magnetic leadership to overcome one obstacle after another. Tamerlane was truly one of the most remarkable personalities ever to emerge from the steppes of Central Asia.

    curt says: "The man that conquered Afganistan"
    "Lamb brings history to life"
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    Tamerlane (Timur the lame) or correctly known as Timur ruler of Samarkand 1369-1405. Lamb says Timur was a Tartar, some other biographer’s claim he was a Turko-Mongol. I believe Lamb is correct as Timur was born in what is today Uzbekistan, which is the home land of the Tartars. After the fall of the Soviets, they tore down the statue of Marx and Stalin and put up a big statue of Timur. According to Lamb he married a Great Granddaughter of Genghis Khan. I found the author’s remarks that Samarkand was famous for its crimson cloth most interesting. I love learning these little tidbits of information. The author also said that Timur liked turquoise blue so the people made him turquoise blue cloth, they wore the cloth over the saddle that is the reason they were called the blue hoard. Lamb did not specify if his enjoyment of turquoise blue was before or after his conquering of Turkey. His Empire was enormous he ruled all of the “stans” all the middle east including Turkey , Egypt, India, Russia, Mongolia and parts of China. According to Lamb when he conquered the Golden Hoard (the Mongolian tribe that ruled Russia) he placed a group of Tartars in Crimea to control the area where Russian came in touch of Europe. (They lived in the Crimea until Stalin sent them to the gulags. The tartars returned with the fall of the Soviet’s and they apparently voted against the Russia takeover of the Crimea) Lamb said Timur also took Poland for a time. Lamb says Timur was a great patron of the art and architecture. Timur apparently enjoyed the domes of the Byzantium architecture and brought it back to Samarkand and into Russia. Timur used the Dome on his palaces and mosques, he was a Muslim. The author did cover Timur’s wars and brutality but also covered his love of architecture, his great ability as an administrator and war strategist. In enjoyed learning about Timur, his land and time. Lamb has a way of writing that brings history to life. It took me a bit to get use to the sound effects used in the audio book. I think the voice of Charlton Griffin was appropriate for this type of story.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Command Authority

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Tom Clancy, Mark Greaney
    • Narrated By Lou Diamond Phillips
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1244)
    Performance
    (1122)
    Story
    (1123)

    There's a new strong man in Russia but his rise to power is based on a dark secret hidden decades in the past. The solution to that mystery lies with a most unexpected source, President Jack Ryan.

    David says: "Brilliant but borderline non-fiction!"
    "Right out of today’s headlines"
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    I had delayed reading this book after the death of Tom Clancy, sort of, postponing the end of the Clancy era. When I read the first few chapter's I said Wow! This is right out of the headlines of today’s news. This is not the first time Clancy’s has a seemingly far out part of one of his stories has come to be seen in the headlines, I am thinking of his having terrorist seizing airliners and flying them into buildings long before nine eleven. The story opens up with military action in Estonia as Russian tanks and troops invade this small country; the Russians are repelled by a NATO force stationed in the area. Russian then roles into Crimea Ukraine. Russian President Valeri Volodin’s justification for trying to seize Ukraine is “It is the home of the Black Sea Fleet, our oil and gas pipelines to Europe go through Ukraine, and we need to protect Russian citizens in the area”. In the story Volodin as ex KGB man and his main enforcer Roman Talanov as young men saw the coming of the collapse of the Soviet Union. They stole money from the KGB and hid it in numbered accounts in Switzerland. They past the money through various dummy corporations and account and bought companies in Russia to become wealthy. Volodin becomes President of Russia with the goal of establishing Russian dominance over the former satellite states. Clancy has Jack junior tracking the monies from 30 years earlier trying to find the current owners of certain companies. The story goes into a typical Clancy cloak and dagger spy adventure, high tech military action, all triggered by the poisoning via plutonium of Ryan’s friend Sergey Golovko who dies at a lunch with President Ryan and his family in the White House. I enjoyed the book more now than if I had read in at the end of last year when it came out, because of what is happening right now in the Ukraine. I wonder does Clancy’s death spell the end of the Jack Ryan Saga or will Mark Greaney carry it on? Lou diamond Phillips does a good job narrating the story.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Assassination of the Archduke: Sarajevo 1914 and the Romance That Changed the World

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Greg King, Sue Woolmans
    • Narrated By Malcolm Hillgartner
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (7)

    Set against a backdrop of glittering privilege, The Assassination ofthe Archduke combines royal history, touching romance, and political murder in a moving portrait of the end of an era. One hundred years after the event, it offers the startling truth behind the Sarajevo assassinations, including Serbian complicity, and examines rumors of conspiracy and official negligence.

    Jean says: "A tragic family"
    "A tragic family"
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    June 28, 1914 will mark the 100th anniversary of that fateful day in Sarajevo. Well–known royalty historians King and Woolman bring us a detailed account of the life, times, and tragic deaths of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his Czech Countess Sophia Chotek, that helped touch off WWI, which still shapes the world. The early chapters concentrate on Franz Ferdinand’s family, birth, childhood, education and military career. The reader obtains a look at the complexities of the stifling regime of the Hapsburg court in the reign of traditional bound ultra-conservative Emperor Franz Joseph 1 of Austria-Hungry. The romance, marriage, and family life of Ferdinand, Sophie and the children Sophie, Max and Ernst consumes about half the book. The author explains the morganatic marriage in detail. The authors reveal the petty snubs, deliberate insults from the court and how it affected the family. The event in Sarajevo takes up about a third of the book. The final chapter looks at the later history of the children and their offspring. How they had their home, money, personal items all taken from them by the Czech government. The Nazi arrested them and imprisoned them in Dachau concentration camp. The author’s tell the story in the camp and then living under the Soviets after being released from Dachau. Today their great grand daughter who wrote the foreword to the book is in a decades old legal battle with the Czech government attempting to obtain their family home Konipiste returned to them. The author’s did an enormous amount of research, assisted by the descendants who shared personal recollections and access to family archives and other archives. The wealth of resources makes the book of value to scholars of the outbreak of WWI. I found it most helpful that the author’s pointed out the rumors and theories then stated the proven fact in various situations throughout the book. This book brought to life the Archduke and his family as well as the time they lived. The book is well written and makes for an easy read for both the academic and the layman alike. Malcohm Hillgartner did an excellent job narrating the book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • It's Your Misfortune and None of My Own: Code of the West #1

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs)
    • By Stephen Bly
    • Narrated By Jerry Sciarrio
    Overall
    (15)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (7)

    Pepper Paige is tired of her life as a dance-hall girl, and tired of fearing Jordan Beckett, a violent patron who has turned his attentions on her. When a stagecoach wrecks and an injured woman dies in her room, Pepper assumes her identity and leaves town.

    Jean says: "A western with a twist"
    "A western with a twist"
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    The title comes from the lyrics to the traditional cowboy ballad “Get along little doggies”. This is the first Stephen Bly book I have read. Zachariah Hatcher and Suzanne Cedar are engaged to be married, but they have never met in person. Suzanne travels to Colorado to marry Hatcher only both die on their way to the meeting site. Tap Andrews who was with Hatcher when he died agreed to go on and met Cedar’s stagecoach and tell Cedar of his death so she would not be left alone in a strange country. Only there is a stagecoach accident and Cedar is killed. Pepper a dance hall girl took care of Cedar as she died then takes her place to meet Hatcher. The book has lots of suspense with outlaws, and wondering if they will tell each other the truth about themselves. I believe this is one of the so called Christian fiction books. It is a typical western with a bit of a twist to the plot and a moral point to the story. Sometimes it’s hilarious, sometimes poignant but always entertaining. It is a short easy read that makes a good break from more complicated books. Jerry Sciarrio did a good job narrating the book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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