Thursday, January 12, 2012

First Chapter Review: Corn Silk Days by Linda Pendleton

Historicals are some of my favorites, and if there's one set during the Civil War, it's a safe bet I'll want to at least take a glance at it. The blurb on this one sounded good, so I picked it up for free for my Kindle.

TITLE:  Corn Silk Days

AUTHOR:  Linda Pendelton

BLURB: Iowa, 1862:

The dramatic story of two families, four generations, during a time when the United States is seriously divided by war, North against South, neighbor against neighbor, brother against brother, son against father; slave against slave-owner—a distressful time of upheaval, tragedy, heartbreak, and death.

In the summer of 1862, Iowa farmer, Silas Storm, volunteers for the Union Army and his wife, Elizabeth Jane, pregnant with their second child, must maintain their farm and meet the many challenges the absence of her husband creates.

Four generations of Silas's family and extended family discover their lives changing drastically while facing adversity and challenges: family secrets, denials, fears, forbidden love, death, and grief. Like Silas Storm on the battlefield finding courage to dodge the next Rebel bullet, they, too, must deal with their fears and transform those fears into courage.

Will they be able to survive? Or will it be their defeat?

"Well Janie, when I heard of the death of Lincoln it appeared to me that I had lost one of my mightiest friends. He was the soldiers' best friend, but he had done enough in this world and the kind hand of Providence called him home to live in peace." ~Silas, May 1865

Although Corn Silk Days is a fictional account of life during the Civil War, Linda Pendleton has woven actual letters written by her great-great-grandfather into her story, staying true to the military facts presented in his letters home to his wife.

COVER:  The cover is beautiful, though it makes me think of an historical romance, not the story from the blurb. In all fairness, however, if I read further it might turn out to be the perfect cover.

FIRST CHAPTER:  Elizabeth Jane Storm kisses her six-year-old son, Denny goodnight. His prayer has once again filled her with sadness, as he pleads for God to bring his Daddy home. Now pregnant with her second child, she can't understand why Silas had to run off to war. She's struggling to take care of the farm, even with the help of her father and father-in-law, and can't imagine what she'll do once the baby is born.

KEEP READING:  Maybe. My challenge is that I don't care for Elizabeth Jane all that much. Her anger over Silas signing up is coupled with indifference over the plight of the Negroes and states seceeding from the Union. Silas didn't need to get involved. He needed to take care of his family. While I understand that a good portion of her feelings come from being overwhelmed by running the farm while pregnant, she comes off as a bit whiny and selfish.

I could get by that, but the first chapter is mostly back story and that isn't what I like to see start off a book. We join Denny and Elizabeth Jane in the boy's bedroom, but as soon as she is by herself, the reader is given the reasons she's miserable and how Silas decided to sign up against her wishes right off the bat. Then the reader is taken even further back in time to a conversation Elizabeth Jane had with her mother a few weeks earlier about her mother's first husband and a promise the older woman asks her to keep. The reader is returned to the present by the end of the chapter, and Chapter Two will focus on another member of the family, I'm guessing one of Elizabeth Jane's half-brothers based upon the first sentence.

I would probably read at least one more chapter to see if I am drawn in by this story.

I received no monetary compensation for this review.


April said...

I always love seeing Iowa in books, lol. It doesn't happen very often. This sounds like a pretty good one.

Cheryl said...

It's not bad at all. I'll end up returning to it to see if I feel differently after chapter two.