Update: we’ve drawn (and notified) the winners of our first YA fiction giveaway. Jen is the lucky recipient of Cathy Gohlke’s novels, and Angel will receive both of Nicole O’Dell’s. Congratulations, ladies! We hope you visit again soon.
Over the last few months we’ve heard from dozens of readers, eager to find books appropriate for their daughters, nieces, and granddaughters. Once a month we will profile a young adult novel that we consider worth reading.
And to help us out in that venture is a new member the She Reads team: author Nicole O’Dell. Please give her a warm welcome:
Hi! I’m Nicole O’Dell, the newest addition to the She Reads book-review team. I’m also an author, a mom of six (including 18-month-old triplets), a youth leader and a full-time student. Don’t ask! Trying to explain it all usually sends me to a rubber room for a day and a half–minimum.
I have a passion for teens and write my books centered on the choices they’re faced with as they mature. Reading about teens and what they’re interested in helps me stay in touch with the different facets of their needs. I’m thrilled to be able to combine those passions into reviewing young adult books here at She Reads!
This month, I’m pleased to present the first and second books in Cathy Gohlke’s Civil War series. Have you read either of these books, yet? They are amazing. Her debut, William Henry is a Fine Name, won a Christy Award in 2007. Just two years later, its stand-alone sequel, I have Seen Him in the Watchfires, won another Christy Award!
It is 1859, and thirteen-year-old Robert is torn between loyalty to his abolitionist father and his mother’s slave-holding family.
After his best friend, William Henry, is trapped in a deadly scheme to protect secrets of the Underground Railroad, Robert vows never to get involved again. But when he discovers his grandfather’s plan to sell his own son, born of a slave woman, Robert must decide whether to stand idly by or risk everything to help him escape.
William Henry is a Fine Name is a coming-of-age story, a tale of friends–and a nation–caught in the chaos of slavery, forced to take a stand.
William Henry is a Fine Name is heartfelt account of a 13-year-old boy, Robert, coming face-to-face with prejudice, war and slavery. Living in the pre-Civil War South, Robert is forced to deal with his own confusion in the chaos all around him. His parents are at odds–his father is involved in the Underground Railroad, and his mother is strongly pitted against abolition–so Robert must decide for himself. Examining slavery and the consequences of prejudice through the eyes and experiences of his black best friend, William Henry, Robert realizes he must do something.
This debut novel by Cathy Gohlke is masterfully written–I know these characters; they’re still with me weeks later. When I put this book down after reading it, I couldn’t imagine that I’d like the sequel as well. I was wrong.
As Civil War rends his family and the nation, seventeen-year-old Robert is eager to fight for God and the Union, to put teeth in President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. But first he must find a way to rescue his estranged mother, and cousin, Emily, living behind enemy lines.
Caught in a prison escape, left for dead, and tried as a spy, Robert finds himself on the run from both armies and ill prepared for the atrocities endured by his family in hiding.
I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires reveals Robert’s struggle to find God, his place, and the will to survive a war he no longer understands.
I have Seen Him in the Watchfires, the second book in the Civil War series, finds young Robert on the brink of manhood at 17. His mother is ill; his father is off fighting for the Union–it’s all up to Robert now. Lines are blurred between right and wrong, family and enemy, God and country.
After an elaborate escape plot and a storyline fraught with danger, intrigue and accusation, Robert becomes a suspected Confederate spy and is on the run. He learns about trust and faith while battling his own regret and fear.
I offer my sincerest congratulations to the author on both of her Christy wins and her masterful successes with these books, which appeal to all audiences. These may be considered YA, but they truly span the generations with their historical appeal, gripping plot and vibrant characters.
Be sure to visit Cathy Gohlke’s website. She offers discussion questions for her books as well as photographs that depict some of the inspirations for her scenes.
I’m happy to be able to offer a giveaway of a set of these award-winning books to a She Reads reader! Just leave a comment on this post. Also, since this is my first visit here, I’d like to offer a set of my first two books, Truth or Dare and All that Glitters, as a second-place prize.
About Ariel Lawhon
Ariel Lawhon is the co-founder of She Reads, novelist, blogger, storyteller, and life-long reader. She lives in Texas with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus). Ariel believes that Story is the shortest distance to the human heart.