In her blog post from April 11, 2012, Davenport asserts, “You have to write from the heart. You have to have one big, true thing you are dying to tell the world.” In her newest novel, that one big, true thing concerns the lives of men and women during the Civil War, real people who followed their own moral beliefs. The depth of the author’s affection for her characters shines through as they pick their way amid the horrors of war and the conflicting loyalties of social, political, and personal responsibility. Remiscent of Dara Horn’s All Other Night
(2009) and Dave Eggers’ What Is the What
(2006), Johnny Tom, a Chinese immigrant in Mississippi, is kidnapped and forced to fight for the Confederacy, then escapes to fight for the Union. His daughter, Era, a nurse, is a Northern spy saving Southern soldiers. Her unwitting lover, Warren Petticomb, wounded at Shiloh, holds Era’s heart. Giving resonance and impact to this story are the compelling characters who tap readers’ emotions; the stark realities of battle; and the heroic men and women on both sides who persevered despite horrific conditions. Davenport, author of House of Many Gods
(2006), writes from the heart, and yours will be moved. —Jen Baker
"...A great story told with such beautiful prose I am hoping The Spy Lover will be picked up by Ang Lee or Steven Spielberg. Kiana Davenport is a brilliant writer. [Based] on her ancestors from the American South and global East, The Spy Lover takes the incredibly difficult...topics of race, gender, slavery and war and artfully weaves them into a specific story. Davenport is genius at capturing complex times, and complications of the heart. It's been a long time since I cried while reading a novel, and that happened several times while reading The Spy Lover...I couldn't wait to finish the story, but grieved when it ended. That's exactly how I felt when I finished reading Gone With The Wind so many years go. If you need a holiday escape...or want to spend time in a different world read...
The Spy Lover!" —Ellen Snortland for The Huffington Post
"A beautifully written tale...filled with the horrors of war...and the anguish of loss...as we follow the characters on their journeys to find peace and redemption. The prose is magnificent. You will come away fulfilled. If you read one Civil War novel this year, make this the one." —Joseph A. Truglio, from Civil War News
"Beautiful writing...a page turner one could not lay down. The novel emanates from Davenport's own family history, ancestors who fought in the War...as she tells the story of a woman and her lover, the conflict between love, conscience and determination...I have no hesitation in recommending 'The Spy Lover'
to anyone who enjoys stories of the Civil War as well as of genuine conflicts, love and dedication...It will go into a special niche of historical fiction and ...likely become a classic like 'Cold Mountain.'
" —Martha Boltz of The Washington Times
"A powerful love story and serious historical tribute to the many under-recognized minority soldiers... Kiana Davenport is simply ingenious in the way she writes and tells her story based on two ancestors who fought on opposite sides of the War. A piercing, glorious and unsettling novel you are unlikely to ever forget. I recommend The Spy Love
r as one of the best war stories I have ever encountered." —Melanie Smith, Book Reporter
"...Memorable [in] her depiction of the lives of women during the [Civil] War, as well as those of mixed race...Like the best historical fiction the book's deep research is felt in every line and authenticates every character. The Spy Lover
easily joins, and even surpasses Cold Mountain
." —Don Wallace, HONOLULU WEEKLY
"A page turner, like Davenport's other fiction, The Spy Lover
is full of suspense, yet it also plunges deep. With compassion toward all her characters, whether they fight for the North or the South, Davenport dramatizes the agony of divided loyalties and the brutalities of war...High drama, high tension, high romance." —Alix Kates Shulman, Bestselling author of Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen
, and Menage
"This author does a fantastic job presenting the scenery, pain, and depth of the Civil War and how it truly split loved ones apart. Sometimes in horrific detail, especially the battle of Gettysburg, this author makes it feel as if the reader is actually on that field experiencing every death. Having these characters based on the very real souls of the author's own ancestors who came to America during the 1800s, made the story even more compelling, and is highly recommended." —Amy Lignor, author of Tallent & Lowery - 13
for Suspense Magazine
"(In) The Spy Lover, (Davenport) pulls from her Alabama-born father’s family history to tell a gripping Civil War story about three complicated, suffering people—a nurse who’s spying for the Union behind enemy lines, a Chinese immigrant who escapes his conscription into the Confederacy to fight for the Union instead, and a wounded Confederate cavalryman. Davenport doesn’t buffer the brutality of war, presenting a stark portrayal of its horrors and the damage it can inflict on body and soul in her well-researched tale." —Bookpage
“Davenport delivers a surprisingly heartwarming ending, which will please readers. Civil War buffs will also appreciate and be impressed by the author’s intricate depiction of the conflict.”