Review by Kathleen’s Book Reviews

“Moonlight glimmered on the distant capitol dome and cast long shadows from the gothic towers and battlements of the Smithsonian Institute. To the west, the partially completed shaft of the Washington Monument appeared like a giant white chimney protruding from the dark landscape. Between these edifices were fields filled with temporary streets and wooden buildings. Bathed in the dim light was a city transforming itself from a military bastion consumed by the business of war to a city intent on governing the once-again United States.” (“Two Brothers: One North, One South”).

I have to say that I love the opening paragraph above. Sometimes when I go back to reread a book and I’m looking for a few good lines to use in my review, I have to look for quite awhile. In this case, it’s the first thing you read- and they’re perfect. As I mentioned in one of my recent reviews about another author, this is what Creative Writing teachers strive to pull from you. The imagery is fantastic. You can picture the capitol! Or perhaps it’s even those first two words – “Moonlight glimmered”- a perfect descriptive hook.

The story itself is pretty good. The title is pretty self explanatory, it’s the story of two brothers during the American Civil War. I’ve not read much historical fiction set during this time. The only thing that comes to mind is Ann Rinaldi’s “The Last Silk Dress,” but that is a completely different type of book (still good though!). “Two Brothers….” is based upon actual historical events which is what I think really makes it work. The author did a tremendous amount of research – and I think it really shows in the story. (Not that I would know differently, as my knowledge in this area is lacking… but I’ll take his word for it that most of the details and dates and such are historically accurate!)

What I liked most about this book is that it didn’t read like a boring history book. I’ve come across so many historical fiction novels that put too much emphasis on history and not enough on fiction. They attempt to write nonfiction disguised as fiction. In this case, “Two Brothers…” is the perfect balance. There’s action and dialogue. The history is there, but you can tell that you’re reading fiction. Hopefully you understand what I mean.

I would indeed recommend this to anyone looking for historical fiction set during or around the American Civil War. For that matter, I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a good story!