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The Unfinished Work Paperback – March 19, 2008
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''The battles were so finely crafted that you could almost smell the smoke and feel the heat of the blasts. The budding romance between Jake and the Bigler sisters brought welcome relief to the intensity of the battles and the emotions on both sides of the war. He easily made a case for the North and the South, leaving the choice of who was right up to the individual reader. Anyone interested in history, romance, or human nature will find this book a nonstop source of information and entertainment.''
--News & Experts
''Meredith, drawing on extensive historical research, paints a vivid recreation of the Gettysburg campaign as seen by men on both sides of the battle lines. The author's fictional creations are colorfully three-dimensional. Eliza, in particular, is a glorious confection of self-pity, insecurity, and sugarcoated chutzpah, a downscale Scarlett O'Hara . . .''
''One of the finest recent historical novels, this engaging and attention-grabbing account is deeply rooted in the actual Civil War events of south-central Pennsylvania during the Gettysburg Campaign, and it is sure to fascinate readers, while at the same time educating them on the Confederate invasion and the Keystone residents' response.''
--Scott L. Mingus, Sr., Civil War historian and author --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Frank Meredith grew up in Hanover, Pennsylvania, witnessed the 100th Anniversary reenactment of the Battle of Hanover, and has been a Civil War buff ever since. His non-fiction writing has appeared in several newspapers and music journals, including the History Channel magazine. He holds degrees in music from The King's College and Ithaca College, and was awarded a Doctoral Fellowship in conducting at Northwestern University. Highlights of his career as a professional musician include playing in Glimmerglass Opera's Emmy-nominated premier of Central Park, being a finalist in an international euphonium solo competition, touring with the International Symphonic Wind Orchestra, conducting at Lincoln Center, and performing with jazz greats Marsalis, Severinsen, Bennett, Torme, and Ellington. He has taught music at the pre-school through graduate school levels, and served two terms on the executive board of the New York State School Music Association. Among his favorite experiences: witnessing the birth of his three sons, starring as the lead in a local production of Man of La Mancha with the rest of his family, photographing Carnevale in Venice, enjoying a Viking feast with his family in Jorvik, riding an ATV through the Yucatan jungle, earning an acting award from the Theater Association of New York State, earning bronze in a NASTAR sanctioned Giant Slalom, taking several trips to the Alps, and photographing the sunrise on the Matterhorn. Frank and his wife, Betsy, live in Upstate New York. They have three grown sons and a rapidly growing Yellow Lab puppy.
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Top Customer Reviews
Jake braced in anticipation of the death of the Yankee assailant. But nothing happened. Was Hampton out of ammo or was it a misfire?"
Frank Meredith, a native of Hanover in southwestern York County, Pennsylvania, is a writer of historical fiction, as well as a Grammy and Emmy-nominated musician. An international traveler and accomplished photographer, Meredith uses his prolific imagination and experience as a storyteller to weave together a fascinating novel, The Unfinished Work, based upon the events of the 1863 Gettysburg Campaign.
The lead character, Jake Becker, like Meredith is a Hanoverian. Early in the Civil War in 1861, he has escorted the other two main characters, sisters Kathleen and Eliza Bigler, from Virginia back to Hanover for safety. Little did they know their paths would cross the Confederates in southern Pennsylvania just two years later when elements of Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia invaded York County. The book begins with the Saturday June 27 raid of Elijah White's Virginia cavalry on Hanover and the Rebel infantry's occupation of nearby York PA. The dialogue and action sets the stage for the main event, J.E.B. Stuart's entry into Pennsylvania on June 30 and the subsequent Battle of Hanover.
Through the well crafted narrative, Jake meets and interacts with the leading Southern generals, including Lee, Stuart, Wade Hampton and others, as well as such Yankee luminaries as George Armstrong Custer. Becker becomes an eyewitness to the fighting at East Cavalry Field at Gettysburg, which the author refers to as the last great cavalry battle in history (I would consider Trevillian Station as a significant cavalry battle, albeit some infantry was present). Jake Becker is later present at the ceremonies dedicating the National Cemetery and listens to President Lincoln deliver the Gettysburg Address.
A main plot line is the sisters' unexpected romantic rivalry. As the author has stated, "As in Gone with the Wind, Eliza, a pampered southern belle, must cope with the life-changing consequences of the war, watch her lover go off to join the fight, and deal with the most unexpected rival for his affections - her sister, Kathleen."
Unlike many works of historical fiction, Meredith relies quite heavily on the actual historical accounts of the Battle of Hanover and the fierce fighting at Gettysburg. Drawing upon his impressive knowledge of local geography and the network of roads, for those of us who live in York County, this novel is clearly written with a keen understanding of the culture of the 19th century Pennsylvania German farmers and residents, and the Civil War buff will appreciate the attention to historical detail, including some useful footnotes (unusual for a novelist to add this much appreciated touch). For those readers who enjoy historical fiction, The Unfinished Work has broad appeal for both men and women, and has an excellent storyline that holds the reader's attention.
The Unfinished Work is 309 pages and is available from leading retail outlets across the country, as well as on the Internet. ISBN 978-1449545116; soft cover (hard cover coming), illustrated with maps and period photographs. Savannah Press.
Frank Meredith maintains a Facebook page and a website for the book with more information, endorsements and reviews, upcoming book signings, and other supportive material.
The characters all came to life on the pages! I could picture Jake, the main character. I could feel the pain of his struggles with his sense of duty to self, God and country. I felt the struggles he fought as he tried to find which of two young women was his real true love. I felt so many emotions as I turned page after page; rage and sorrow at how he was treated at times by someone who supposedly loved him. I felt desperation for another character as she tried and tried to gain attention from him. And the ending was phenomenal - I had to find out on the final page who his true love really was!
When I purchased the book I specifically asked Frank if this was a book that contained lots of the military technical details. As I am an "amateur" Civil War history lover - I don't especially enjoy reading all of the intricacies of the regimental movements, etc. He said the book did contain some of that, so I had some reservations, but purchased it anyway. What I discovered was that because of the close association I made with the characters in the story line, I found I was eager and it was very easy for me to follow along with the battle. Frank includes photos of the area and maps of the battlefields so as I read, I could refer to them frequently to get my bearings.
Another special feature of the book is that in the back are references that correspond to the book pages. There you can refer and discover what is factual and what is fiction - I found myself using that quite frequently.
I would list this in my top 3 favorite books ever read. It was a book that I couldn't wait to finish - it was so good that I didn't want to put it down. But on the other hand, it was so good that I didn't want it to end. I cannot wait until we have the opportunity to read another book by this author!
This is a really well-researched book that brings out little-known facts about the battles of Gettysburg, Hanover - and the least well known one - Hunterstown.
By making his fictional characters interact with the likes of JEB Stuart and George Custer, the author gives a history lesson in an effortless and entertaining way.
The author also does a great job in the appendix pointing out what is fact and what is fiction - a needed addition since he does such a good job of weaving the two together.
As a fellow Civil War fiction author and a resident of Gettysburg, I think this book will be enjoyed by those who are interested in learning more about the battles that occurred above the Mason-Dixon line, or those who just want an entertaining read.
Jessica James is the author of [ASIN:0979600006 Shades of Gray: A Novel of the Civil War in Virginia]].
St Louis, Missouri