The Spy Lover
Sep 12, 2012
Author: Kiana Davenport
Paperback: 303 pages
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publication Date: August 28, 2012
Thrust into the savagery of the Civil War, a Chinese immigrant serving in the Union Army, a nurse doubling as a spy for the North, and a one-armed Confederate cavalryman find their lives inextricably entwined.
Fleeing drought and famine in China, Johnny Tom arrives in America with dreams of becoming a citizen. Having survived vigilantes hunting “yellow dogs” and slave auction- blocks, Johnny is kidnapped from his Mississippi village by Confederate soldiers, taken from his wife and daughter, and forced to fight for the South. Eventually defecting to the Union side, he is promised American citizenship in exchange for his loyal services. But first Johnny must survive the butchery of battles and the cruelties inflicted on non-white soldiers.
Desperate to find Johnny, his daughter, Era, is enlisted as a spy. She agrees to work as a nurse at Confederate camps while scouting for the North. Amidst the unspeakable carnage of wounded soldiers, she finds solace in Warren Petticomb, a cavalryman who lost an arm at Shiloh. As devastation mounts in both armies, Era must choose where her loyalties lie—with her beloved father in the North, or with the man who passionately sustains her in the South.
The descriptive passages in this book are graphic and heart-wrenching.
Kiana tells this story through flashbacks and present tense moments that are all deeply descriptive and emotional.
The scenes of war are fully evolved and graphically wince inducing. The camp surgeries, the wounds, the dirt and hunger.. all of it right there in your face.
Johnny Tom's life is fascinating to read about - a young starving Chinese boy somehow finding his way to the United States, Hawaii to start, through slavery, trickery, beatings, and starvation. He continues to not only survive, but to find love, have children, make friends and live....all while continuously living in the most inhumane conditions.
Warren, a Confederate soldier sent into the army by his father against his will, does not let his parents know how he suffers, but continues to send rather upbeat letters home on a regular basis, while slowly falling in love with a nurse, Era, who just happens to be Johnny's daughter spying for the North in an attempt to find her father.
As can be assumed, her emotions are all over the place as she and Warren draw closer.
The story draws you in, but the descriptive passages of what is endured is what keeps you trapped on your couch, unable to put the book down.
Reviewed by Idgie. If you would like to have the Dew review a book, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org