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A Still Small Voice [Kindle Edition]

John Reed
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $19.00
Kindle Price: $14.99
You Save: $4.01 (21%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

A spellbinding novel of love and war from "a young writer of great promise."
-- Paul Auster

Written with a storyteller's grace and a poet's touch, John Reed's powerful first novel is a true adventure of the heart -- at once a passionate love story and a sweeping historical saga set against a vivid backdrop of the Civil War....

The year is 1859 as seven-year-old Alma Flynt arrives in the Kentucky town of Cotterpin Creek to begin a new life. There, Alma will have as friends, neighbors, and benefactors the magnificent Cleveland family.

With their sprawling mansion and gleaming thoroughbred horses, the Clevelands are a wonder. But from the beginning, one Cleveland draws all of Alma's attention: the youngest son, John Warren.

Alma knew they were meant for each other from their first meeting. But everything changes as war descends on Cotterpin Creek, taking John Warren to battle and sweeping his family into the chaos.

Against this turbulent backdrop, Alma will come of age. And when the fighting is over, the story of a brave young man riding off to battle becomes a haunting journey of vengeance and redemption. And for Alma, yet another journey begins on the day a tormented young soldier staggers back into her life.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The simple, homespun narrative voice of elderly Alma Flynt establishes the tone of this often cloying historical novel. Alma looks back on her childhood in a small Kentucky town from 1859, when she is seven, to the late 19th century, having survived the Civil War and many of life's vicissitudes. An innocent, beautiful and unsullied orphan, she evolves into an innocent, beautiful and unsullied young woman. As Kentucky is a neutral state, some of the families in the town of Cotterpin Creek are pro-Union while others are Confederates, but all are as honorable as they are one-dimensional. Similarly, the slaves and ex-slaves who occasionally make appearances invariably wear their hearts of gold on their sleeves and carry themselves with a quiet dignity born of inner strength. Horses are the most prominent symbol in this book, and just as his canny characters find a use for every part of the possums and pigs they kill during hard times, so Reed manages to squeeze every last drop of meaning from his various equines, who represent slaves, human nature and just about everything else. Even when Alma is a child, she possesses a mystical moral certainty that serves as a convenient alternative to any character development. Describing her first childhood meeting with her future true love, she remarks, "I believe it was that when he saw me, and I saw him, our two souls lightened, and curled up together, rising on a breeze as faint as a horse's breath." Simplistic and sentimental, the narrative is at best a quick summer read. (Aug.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In 1859, seven-year-old orphan Alma Flynt begins a new life with her aunt in Cotterpin Creek, KY, where she falls under the spell of the wealthy Cleveland family. Her admiration for the thoroughbred horses they raise is exceeded only by her devotion to the youngest Cleveland, John Warren. That infatuation persists through the Civil War, which divides community and country. Soldiers from both armies appear intermittently to pillage and destroy, but Alma cares about only one of them: the wounded and defeated John Warren, fleeing his pursuers. Years after the war, she rejects suitors as she waits and pines for his return. Alma recounts these events for her grandchildren, which may explain the lack of urgency in the telling. Self-conscious reflections deaden the pace, while tedious passages about horses, gardens, and excursions read more like a dissertation than a narrative. How can a first novel with this setting achieve such plodding dullness? Not a necessary purchase, but because extensive advertising campaigns are slated, public libraries should anticipate some media-generated demand."Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State Univ., Mankato
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1380 KB
  • Print Length: 370 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0385334060
  • Publisher: Delta (April 13, 2011)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,318,759 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bucks the Trend September 14, 2000
Teaching sociology and history at the undergraduate level has made me scornful of most historical fiction. So when I caught my wife crying from reading "A Still Small Voice", I picked it up a day later to commence my usual demolition job. I was perplexed to find that this novel is nonetheless constructed with utter credibility. From flora to horse raising to the baking of bread, dialect, and fine details of religious practice; from the games played by children to the settings on the table, I found no anachronisms or blunders. I'm no judge of novels----don't like em', but I've never come across one so altogether real. Five stars for accuracy.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars VITAL AMERICAN NOVEL September 14, 2000
As a woman, as a southerner, & as a passionate reader of both hhistory & fiction, I cannot praise this remarkable book enough. Is it really truly possible that man wrote this utterly convincing civil war novel, set in Kentucky and feelingly told in the feminine first person, and a New Yorker at that? What a feat of empathy, to recreate the passions & true fabric of a bygone American experience so that it springs alive like a great movie. This is an ennobling book which should be read by every American who wants to understand our past & our inner possibilities.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply, a Masterpiece August 19, 2000
Great language and great dreams fill this wondrous book. An artful treatment of the Civil War as through the eyes of a young woman. A better novel this year I have not read. Or seen, for that matter. The many illustrations are perfect.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW!!! WHAT A BOOK!!! June 21, 2002
This book is written so beautifully that at some points I found myself reading pages over and over again just for the simple beauty of the words! This book is about love, loss and the hardships and the simple pleasures of life just before and after the Civil War. It is a poetic, funny, sad and romantic story about enduring love and how it haunts us. At times I did become a little frustrated with all the "horse talk" however, the "horse talk" does set the mood so one feels they are sitting on a old farm house porch in Kentucky staring at the horses grazing on the blue grass of that beautiful state! I recommend this book to readers who are tired of the same old historical romance books that grace the shelves of every bargain department store! READ THIS BOOK!! YOU WILL BE CAPTIVATED BY IT!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting tale August 12, 2000
In 1859 Richmond, Alma Flynt watches both her parents die from the cholera epidemic ravishing the city. She was sent to live in an orphanage near Arlington until her Aunt Bettina sends Pastor Miles to escort her niece back to Cotterpin, Kentucky.
The town, like the state as a whole, is divided between sympathy for the North and for the South. However, unlike many residents of the border states, the townsfolk of Cotterpin embraced their differences rather than argue usually with a bullet. Alma becomes close friend with the Cleveland family, especially John Warren. However, though tolerant to all, the Civil War encroaches on the small town as its' men go off to fight with many never to return. For Alma, she can only pray that John Warren comes back alive.
Readers who enjoy an in-depth look at society during the Civil War will delight in John Reed's A STILL SMALL VOICE. The story line is filled with insightful tidbits and an interesting perspective of life in a border town. However, the townsfolk, though seemingly fully developed, appear more like Pollyannas with moral justice on their side during an obviously complex era. This somewhat disables a potentially powerful novel that had the makings of an incredible historical character study.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely, tender tale that unfolds in your soul and mind December 26, 2000
By A Customer
Yes, it's about the Civil War and how it touches the folks of a small Kentucky town. But this story wouldn't interest me with just that description--I cherish a tale that engages me so fully that hours after finishing the last page I'm still thinking about the characters and their world. And that's just what "A Still Small Voice" offers to readers.
This is not simply a book for female readers, although it's written from a young woman's point of view. Men will enjoy the book for the same reasons any reader will--insightful character development; descriptions that, while detailed, are so delicately offered that they never overwhelm; and a story line that engages the reader instantly.
I began reading this book on Dec. 24 and it kept "calling" to me from my bedroom throughout Christmas Day until I gave in under the pretense of taking a holiday nap and returned to its pages. While I treasure holiday time spent with my family, I still don't regret the time spent on Christmas reading this book. It just added to the day's delights!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ****Small Voice, Bigger Impact**** December 31, 2010
This book is the story of a woman writing about her childhood which took place before, during, and after the Civil War in Kentucky. Alma was an orphan who goes to live with her elderly aunt in the country and makes friends whose family has slaves where her and aunt do not. Alma must grow up somewhat early, but that is only part of the story.

Sometimes the story kind of wanders into descriptions of remedies and gardens, but if you think about it it only adds credibility to the old lady reminiscing about her memories.

There is even some mystery thrown into the mix, and the end is very satisfying, which is something every good book must have.

I also enjoyed the cute little drawings of the different plants and animals that Alma seen growing up and added to her margins.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Book
I'm not a great reviewer. I really enjoyed this book and will read it again which makes this book on a very short list of books I've read.
Published 18 months ago by Landart
5.0 out of 5 stars Tack Sharp
John Reed could describe a thumb tack and somehow make it enjoyable and make you want to keep reading. Read more
Published on July 3, 2008 by Bruce D. Seymour
5.0 out of 5 stars Shining, Sharp Needle in Haystack
This is the BEST book I have ever read. Ever. Days after I finished it, the simplistic beauty of the writing still haunted me. Read more
Published on March 16, 2005 by Smart Dallas Gal
5.0 out of 5 stars New perspective
I found this book to be very intriguing and thought provoking as well as quite entertaining. The day-to-day details of Civil War era life and lifestyle were fascinating additions... Read more
Published on February 9, 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite!
I wish more books were written along the same lines as "A Still Small Voice." John Reed has produced a meticulously written narrative full of grace and gentility, emotion and... Read more
Published on May 19, 2002 by Jan McGreger
3.0 out of 5 stars I must have missed something!
The few reviews of this novel were excellent, and I so looked forward to reading it. What a letdown! Read more
Published on May 6, 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars A Simply Enchanting Read
I just read "A Still Small Voice" and I was completely taken with it...there were many times when I actually cried... Read more
Published on August 17, 2000 by Stephanie
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