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Shades of Gray: A Novel of the Civil War in Virginia Paperback – January 12, 2008


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jessica James is a former newspaper editor who spent 18 years in a newsroom before turning her attention to writing fiction. She enjoys reading 19th century fiction and non-fiction, and writing about the honor, traditions and strong Christian principles prevalent in the South during the Civil War. James holds a master’s degree in communications and a bachelor’s degree in public relations/journalism. She is featured in the book, 50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading, which was published in 2010.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 468 pages
  • Publisher: Patriot Press; 2nd edition (January 12, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0979600006
  • ISBN-13: 978-0979600005
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (999 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #853,962 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

This book was almost like the author didn't want to end the story so kept going on and on.
Robin
I thought this book was very well written, had good plot lines and character development, and was a good story.
JR
I would recommend this story to anyone who loves the romance of history, as well as a good love story.
Cynthia L. Hendrickson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

109 of 109 people found the following review helpful By Heather Brush on December 19, 2007
Format: Paperback
There was a divide among the states, among brothers, families, and friends. There was a common ground, in honor. Jessica James' book, "Shades of Gray," is a novel about the Civil War in Virginia, but it is more about the honor and dedication, beliefs and convictions of both sides, than about the battles themselves.

Captain Hunter, a Confederate cavalry officer, is a fierce and worthy opponent to the Union. His determination and cunning is respected and feared. He'd never met an equal on the field, until a Union spy came face to face with him at a river crossing. Sinclair, with an imposing beast of a black horse, was a legend, escaping the grips of death again and again. These two foes would hunt each other, evade each other, and eventually, save each other's lives. Sinclair holds more secrets than the future plans of the southern forces; Sinclair is a woman in scout's disguise. Known only to her cousin's husband, Colonel Jordan, she is sent on missions to deliver messages, bring back information, and try to stay alive. Her desire to fight for her beliefs leads her to much more; going up against the famed Hunter becomes a challenge she cannot stop herself from pursuing. What she ends up allowing herself to do is well beyond what is expected, or accepted in the days of the Civil War.

Capturing the reader's attention from the start, Jessica James offers a different sort of historical fiction. While the conflicts and skirmishes are detailed and enthralling, the feeling within the soldier is what is so important here. The passion and depth of convictions is clear, respectfully portrayed on both sides, to a point. The plot is intricate with southern nuances, northern straightforwardness and the inner and outer battles of war.
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70 of 73 people found the following review helpful By David Wright on April 14, 2008
Format: Paperback
I have given relatives and friends a number of copies of Shades of Gray as I was so impressed by it. Their feedback has been fantastic! A sister wrote she could hardly put it down. Not a word should be changed, not a line omitted, perfect, she cried over it.

Sons of Confederate Veteran Camp members have also purchased copies and love it.
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Miranda on April 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
Jessica James' Shades of Gray is a touching, captivating tale about Andrea, a spirited young woman serving as a scout for the Union, and Hunter, a dashing, powerful colonel in the Confederate army. After Andrea saves Hunter's life, their fates become intertwined as she poses as a Southern lady, reveals her true identity as a Unionist, and eventually ends up as a captive in his home.

The stubborn nature of both Andrea and Hunter, combined with Andrea's hot temper, make for some interesting, explosive battles of wits between the two. Their attraction for each other builds throughout the novel, but trouble befalls them from the moment they admit their feelings. The succeeding battles and plot twists pull the reader so deeply into the story that putting the book down is not an option.

Jessica James' has done a fantastic job with this novel, giving Civil War buffs and anyone looking for a wonderful book something fabulous to read. She skillfully weaves real battles and historical figures into her tale, and creates characters and plot twists that keep you begging for more. I wholeheartedly recommend this splendid book.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Marcia on November 5, 2008
Format: Paperback
Loved it ~ start to finish. I didn't just read about the civil war I was there smack dab in the middle of it. The spying, the battles, the raids, the camps. The human drama, the camaraderie, the love, the lives hanging on the edge. This book has it all. The last 100-150 pages were intense, the last 50 pages heartbreaking, the last 20 pages I cried. I mean the tears were running down my face.

The passion between Andrea and Hunter is so explosive that I thought the book was going to catch on fire. The scenes where they argue and fight for their own beliefs and feelings about the war and why each is involved are intense and heated. I felt like I was in the room listening to these two worthy opponents do battle for themselves, their families, their homes and their country. As they slowly come to realize that what they feel for each other is beyond their control they surrender pieces of themselves to the other and cross battle lines.

For the time it took me to read this book I was transported back to those war years. I was there in the thick of it. I was riding my beloved horse across enemy lines to bring dispatches and information back to camp. I shared my days and nights with my fellow soldiers. I fought side by side with them. I stared the enemy in the eye. I worked to save their live and when I couldn't I held them as they died. I shared stories of home and family as they read letters from loved ones. I cleverly played the part of spy whether I was a southern belle or disguised as a young man.

Any book that captivates me, absorbs me, captures my imagination is a good book indeed. Shades of Gray did all that. I recommend this book to any reader as it has something for everyone. Readers of historical fiction should especially enjoy it.
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94 of 107 people found the following review helpful By Cooper's Mom on August 22, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm surprised this novel received positive reviews. It's poorly written, cliche, and entirely predictable. The heroine spends much of her time riding her huge horse (that only a man should be able to handle) through unrelenting peril-- all while posing as a fearless young male Union message courier/undercover scout. The scene during which she brazenly rides her trusty steed across an open field under Rebel fire from all sides so closely resembles the opening scene from Dances with Wolves that we can simply call it plagiarism. Furthermore, the writing is banal and repetitive-- to the extent one wonders if an editor even saw the manuscript. Here's and example (two consecutive sentences): "He had a noble air about him, a manner and tone of voice that instantly riveted attention. Whether giving orders on the field of battle or merely conversing with his men, there was something in his voice that was irrefutably authoritative, a quality that instantly riveted attention." Too bad this book doesn't INSTANTLY RIVET ATTENTION. The author and editor also do not know the difference between "compel" and "impel" or "explicit" and "implicit." When the heroine again does not follow her commanding officer's orders, he admonishes her: "Was your mission not clear? Were my orders not implicit?" I couldn't get past the first 10% of the Kindle version and will search for another historical fiction book set during this fascinating period of American history.
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