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Daniel's Garden Paperback – April 14, 2010

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (April 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1450555268
  • ISBN-13: 978-1450555265
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,798,747 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Meg North writes historical and literary fiction set in the 1800's. She won acclaim delivering papers on the Civil War at Honors conferences in 2003 and 2004. She gives tours at the Longfellow House, through the Maine Historical Society. Find her at http://www.megnorth.com.

More About the Author

Q & A with historical fiction author Meg North

Q: You bring a vast knowledge of the Victorian era to your books. Where does that passion come from?
A: I'm a history geek, and I LOVE to research. You'll often find me chatting with historic house tour guides, reading 150-year-old public domain books, holed up in an old library, or sighing over period dramas. I just love it!

Q: What are your major influences as a writer?
A: The lovely books from that era: Dickens, the Brontes, Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott. I'm also mad in love with period dramas and historical epic movies. It's a joy to watch Anna Karenina, Les Miserables, Lincoln, or Gettysburg and see the 19th century on screen.

Q: You also write stories about the Civil War.
A: I do. The Civil War helped shape and define the Victorian era in America. Its influence on the time period can't be overstated. I am definitely a Civil War buff, continually fascinated by the battles, soldiers, nurses, and ordinary people.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jillian on July 3, 2010
Format: Paperback
Meg North's "Daniel's Garden" is destined to be a classic.

Young Daniel Stuart, a quiet, poem-reading college boy from Boston (weaned on money and his father's intentions that he become a lawyer in a respectable Massachusetts office after college) answers the call to war in 1862 to enter the floodtide of Union blue headed to Fort Ellsworth in Virginia. With Milton's "Paradise Lost" in his pocket and a daguerreotype of his straight-laced (and disapproving) family tucked in his haversack, he turns his back on everything safe and familiar to take his place alongside three Harvard college buddies on their way to battle: Andrew, the courageous private with a short temper and a quick trigger; David, the soft-tempered poet and faithful reader of Bible passages; and Matthew, the spectacle-wearing map-reader who seems always to be stumbling just behind the other three, wiping steam from his glasses and murmuring facts about the location of the Army in grey.

These four friends, so certain they know it all when they emerge from the front steps of Harvard after freshman year at the novel's open, will grow up before their Union officers just as boys all over America became men overnight during the War of Secession over a century and a half ago. As realistic as walking beside them, "Daniel's Garden" is a novel of cinematic movement and astounding emotion--the tale of a boy who was willing to leave the security of his Boston garden to search for himself.

The Virginia soil will sting your nostrils alongside Daniel's. You will weep with him, you will march with him, you will bear the weight of his haversack and feel the bitter winter bite at your skin as he plunges onward, onward through the war.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Steven C. Fletcher on April 10, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
Historical novels, especially coming-of-age-via-war historical novels, must be among the most challenging to write. Facts cannot be invented to accommodate storyline, unlike the rest of fiction, and they must be incorporated into a narrative that makes sense within the context of the period. The characters must fit the period, and their interactions with the historical events that are key movers in the storyline must be believable. And finally, perhaps the greatest challenge of all is to avoid cliché (i.e., the horrors of war) and create characters that come to life along with the history, so the reader cares what happens to them. For this reviewer, Daniel's Garden surmounts these obstacles. It recounts in meticulous period prose the journey taken into the Civil War by Daniel, a young Bostonian born into wealth, joined by his friends of decidedly different backgrounds. They get swept up in the Union cause, enlist in the Union Army, and blow off to war. The story captures the mundane as well as the horrific, the bloodless as well as bloody, aspects of the War as seen and felt by Daniel and expressed in his authentic voice. We care what happens to him and his fellow innocents, and there the novel succeeds where it has to. It is a good and entertaining read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Erik North on March 28, 2010
Format: Paperback
Our Portland, Maine book club read Daniel's Garden on a friend's recommendation; it prove to be one of the most gripping and immediate war novels I had ever read. The novelist, Meg North, is a tour guide at the Henry W. Longfellow house and does historical reenactment with the 3rd Maine Regiment. This commitment to the era shines through in the book's richness of detail.

Daniel's Garden is about the youngest son of an affluent Boston family. In a fit of pique after his father's death (and during a rousing recruitment scene with Frederick Douglass), Daniel joins the Northern army. The rest of the novel follows Daniel's regiment. The author follows an extremely detailed look at one of the Massachusetts regiments though all their battles and major events (such as the Mud March). The battle scenes are visceral and daily life of the Civil War soldier portrayed in detail. The conflict between the weathly young brahmin-soldier and the reality of a soldiers life is brutal and at times very funny. All in all a hell of a rousing and poignant read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Raymond H. Mullen VINE VOICE on September 10, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Daniel was born 'with a silver spoon in his mouth," He had it all: but did he? A mansion, wealth, freshman at Harvard, etc. He comes home after his freshman year to learn that there is a plan for him to join his (deceased) father's law firm, marry the beautiful daughter of one of the law partners, and live happily ever after. The problem? These plans were not his. The only part of all this that he really identifies with is his garden, where he can be himself and be at peace.
The story is well written and depicts a man that, against the wishes of everyone in his family, goes off to find his true self.
He and three friends join the Union Army. The story is fast paced, exciting and thought provoking.
All of us have 'a garden', a place of refuge even if it's in our fantasy's only. Did Daniel leave that place or take it with him? Did it serve him well or haunt him?
To anyone that has ever longed to set their own course and march to the beat of their own drum, regardless of the consequences, this book is for you.
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