Friday, June 8, 2018

TLC BOOK TOURS and REVIEW: The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash


The New York Times bestselling author of the celebrated A Land More Kind Than Home and This Dark Road to Mercy returns with this eagerly awaited new novel, set in the Appalachian foothills of North Carolina in 1929 and inspired by actual events. The chronicle of an ordinary woman’s struggle for dignity and her rights in a textile mill, The Last Ballad is a moving tale of courage in the face of oppression and injustice, with the emotional power of Ron Rash’s Serena, Dennis Lehane’s The Given Day, and the unforgettable films Norma Rae and Silkwood.

Twelve times a week, twenty-eight-year-old Ella May Wiggins makes the two-mile trek to and from her job on the night shift at American Mill No. 2 in Bessemer City, North Carolina. The insular community considers the mill’s owners—the newly arrived Goldberg brothers—white but not American and expects them to pay Ella May and other workers less because they toil alongside African Americans like Violet, Ella May’s best friend. While the dirty, hazardous job at the mill earns Ella May a paltry nine dollars for seventy-two hours of work each week, it’s the only opportunity she has. Her no-good husband, John, has run off again, and she must keep her four young children alive with whatever work she can find.

When the union leaflets begin circulating, Ella May has a taste of hope, a yearning for the better life the organizers promise. But the mill owners, backed by other nefarious forces, claim the union is nothing but a front for the Bolshevik menace sweeping across Europe. To maintain their control, the owners will use every means in their power, including bloodshed, to prevent workers from banding together. On the night of the county’s biggest rally, Ella May, weighing the costs of her choice, makes up her mind to join the movement—a decision that will have lasting consequences for her children, her friends, her town—indeed all that she loves.

Seventy-five years later, Ella May’s daughter Lilly, now an elderly woman, tells her nephew about his grandmother and the events that transformed their family. Illuminating the most painful corners of their history, she reveals, for the first time, the tragedy that befell Ella May after that fateful union meeting in 1929.

Intertwining myriad voices, Wiley Cash brings to life the heartbreak and bravery of the now forgotten struggle of the labor movement in early twentieth-century America—and pays tribute to the thousands of heroic women and men who risked their lives to win basic rights for all workers. Lyrical, heartbreaking, and haunting, this eloquent novel confirms Wiley Cash’s place among our nation’s finest writers.

Paperback, 416 pages
Published June 5th 2018 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published October 3rd 2017)

About the Author

Wiley Cash is the award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of A Land More Kind Than Home. A native of North Carolina, he has held residency positions at Yaddo and The MacDowell Colony and teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Southern New Hampshire University. He and his wife live in Wilmington, North Carolina.

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My Thoughts
Ella May knew she wasn't pretty, had always known it.
Based on one amazing real-life woman, this is the story of Ella May Wiggins who as a single mother became a union organizer and died fighting for worker's rights.

At the ripe young age of 29, Ella May finds herself raising four children alone while working a back-breaking job at a textile mill. She lives and works alongside members of the black community. In fact, her best friend and neighbor in Stumptown is a black woman by the name of Violet.

Ella's husband has run off...again. She knows she isn't much to look at, but she has been keeping company with on again/off again Charlie, who shares her love for music. Ella writes ballads in her free time. Note: One of her ballads, A Mill Mother's Lament, was recorded by Pete Seger.
Pretty took the will to be so and the money to do it and the time to see to it and the sleep to maintain it, and Ella didn't have any of those things.
Ella May never had much in life, and all she wants is to have happy children with food in their stomachs and a roof over their heads. She is struggling to do just that on her measly $9 a week, when she hears of a union. So she hikes to her first union meeting.

Ella is one tough and impressive lady...
But there was something about her that made him fear getting too close, something that told him she would just as soon spit in his eye as say hello.
Equality was important to Ella, both for blacks and for women, and she fought for both.

I would like to thank TLC Book Tours for including me on this tour. Check out the website for the full tour schedule:

Tuesday, June 5th: Instagram: @the_need_to_read
Wednesday, June 6th: BookNAround
Thursday, June 7th: Man of La Book
Friday, June 8th: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
Monday, June 11th: Wining Wife
Tuesday, June 12th: Jessicamap Reviews
Wednesday, June 13th: Literary Quicksand
Friday, June 15th: Kritters Ramblings
Monday, June 18th: Broken Teepee
Tuesday, June 19th: Instagram: @Novelmombooks
Wednesday, June 20th: The Book Diva’s Reads
Thursday, June 21st: Lit and Life

My final word: How can you not be impressed with Ella? This story is about desperation and determination and a strong will. Ella was made of the same ilk as the women who fought for women's suffrage or who survived the Dust Bowl. One of my favorite things about this novel is the way that the author tells Ella's story through the use of other characters. Throughout the book each chapter is focused on seeing Ella through a different person on her periphery. I'm always a sucker for Appalachian literature, and jumped at the opportunity to read Wiley Cash when it was presented. Tragic and inspiring, I definitely recommend this one!

Buy Now:

Barnes & Noble

My Rating:

The Cerebral Girl is a forty-something blogger just digging her way out from under a mountain of books in the deep south of Florida.

I received a copy of this book to review through TLC Book Tours and the publisher, in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not financially compensated in any way, and the opinions expressed are my own and based on my observations while reading this novel.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

TLC BOOK TOURS and REVIEW: My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie


From the New York Times bestselling authors of America’s First Daughter comes the epic story of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton—a revolutionary woman who, like her new nation, struggled to define herself in the wake of war, betrayal, and tragedy. Haunting, moving, and beautifully written, Dray and Kamoie used thousands of letters and original sources to tell Eliza’s story as it’s never been told before—not just as the wronged wife at the center of a political sex scandal—but also as a founding mother who shaped an American legacy in her own right.

A general’s daughter…

Coming of age on the perilous frontier of revolutionary New York, Elizabeth Schuyler champions the fight for independence. And when she meets Alexander Hamilton, Washington’s penniless but passionate aide-de-camp, she’s captivated by the young officer’s charisma and brilliance. They fall in love, despite Hamilton’s bastard birth and the uncertainties of war.

A founding father’s wife...

But the union they create—in their marriage and the new nation—is far from perfect. From glittering inaugural balls to bloody street riots, the Hamiltons are at the center of it all—including the political treachery of America’s first sex scandal, which forces Eliza to struggle through heartbreak and betrayal to find forgiveness.

The last surviving light of the Revolution…

When a duel destroys Eliza’s hard-won peace, the grieving widow fights her husband’s enemies to preserve Alexander’s legacy. But long-buried secrets threaten everything Eliza believes about her marriage and her own legacy. Questioning her tireless devotion to the man and country that have broken her heart, she’s left with one last battle—to understand the flawed man she married and imperfect union he could never have created without her…

Paperback, 672 pages
Published April 3rd 2018 by William Morrow Paperbacks
ISBN 006246616X (ISBN13: 9780062466167)

About the Author

About Stephanie Dray

Stephanie Dray is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal & USA Today bestselling author of historical women’s fiction. Her award-winning work has been translated into eight languages and tops lists for the most anticipated reads of the year. Before she became a novelist, she was a lawyer and a teacher. Now she lives near the nation’s capital with her husband, cats, and history books.

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About Laura Kamoie

Laura Kamoie is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of historical fiction. She holds a doctoral degree in early American history from The College of William and Mary, published two non-fiction books on early America, and most recently held the position of Associate Professor of History at the U.S. Naval Academy before transitioning to a full-time career writing fiction. Laura lives among the colonial charm of Annapolis, Maryland, with her husband and two daughters.

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My Thoughts
The promise of liberty is not written in blood or engraved in stone; it's embroidered into the fabric of our nation. And so is Alexander Hamilton.
Everyone is familiar with Alexander Hamilton. If you weren't before the play became the It play of the decade, then you are now! And even before the play Hamilton, you knew of some of Alexander Hamilton's accomplishments-- you maybe just didn't know you knew.

Alexander Hamilton is one of our "Founding Fathers of the United States". He was a huge proponent for the US Constitution, founder of the US financial system, The New York Post, the Federalist Party and more, as well as the first US Secretary of the Treasury. As Wikipedia puts it:
His vision included a strong central government led by a vigorous executive branch, a strong commercial economy, with a national bank and support for manufacturing, plus a strong military.
So, pretty impressive guy, right? But you know what they say about behind every man...? In Eliza (whom he calls by her childhood name Betsy) he found the perfect life partner to support him and fuel his ambitious nature. In this story we get to experience life with Alexander Hamilton through the eyes of his beloved wife-- flaws and all.

I was first introduced to the authors with their book America's First Daughter.about Patsy Jefferson, the daughter of Thomas Jefferson. I learned then that these authors have a real knack for drawing you into a story, and leaving you wanting for more. When you finish one of their historical fiction stories like this one and America's First Daughter, you are left wanting to read more about the historical characters and their accomplishments. When I read one of their books, I can't wait to finish the story to dig into a history book or Wikipedia and learn more. They bring the characters to life.

This is historical fiction, but as it is seen through the eyes of Eliza and she is passionately in love and in awe of her husband Alexander Hamilton, it feels a bit like a historical romance novel-- at least in the beginning. The story is rife with historical characters, from George Washington to Benedict Arnold to James Madison and more, and the women in their lives often play an important part. The authors draw from letters and documents and actual quotes for the story as much as possible, bringing a sincerity to the story.

One thing that I found a little odd was the way that Eliza would often refer to her husband as "Hamilton" when speaking about him with others, as would other women like her friend Theodosia. I know it wasn't uncommon for women back then to refer to their husbands by the title "Mr.", as in "Mr. Hamilton", but I've never heard of women referring to their husbands in the 1700s by simply their surname, as if they were military squad members or something. It seemed odd to me.

I would like to thank TLC Book Tours for including me on this tour. Check out the website for the full tour schedule:

InstagramTour Stops

Sunday, April 1st: Instagram: @theliterarybirds
Tuesday, April 3rd: Instagram: @writersdream
Friday, April 6th: Instagram: @somekindofalibrary
Friday, April 6th: Instagram: @willbakeforbooks
Saturday, April 7th: Instagram: @bookishconnoisseur
Tuesday, April 12th: Instagram: @prose_and_palate
Monday, April 16th: Instagram: @ladyofthelibrary

Review Tour Stops

Wednesday, April 4th: Broken Teepee
Thursday, April 5th: A Chick Who Reads
Friday, April 6th: Instagram: @happiestwhenreading
Monday, April 9th: A Bookish Affair
Tuesday, April 10th: Girls in Books
Wednesday, April 11th: West Metro Mommy
Thursday, April 12th: Reading Reality
Friday, April 13th: The Lit Bitch
Monday, April 16th: Peppermint PhD
Tuesday, April 17th: Tina Says…
Wednesday, April 18th: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
Thursday, April 19th: Literary Lindsey
Friday, April 20th: Lit.Wit.Wine.Dine.
Monday, April 23rd: Doing Dewey
Tuesday, April 24th: Into the Hall of Books
Wednesday, April 25th: Instagram: @lavieestbooks
Thursday, April 26th: 100 Pages a Day…Stephanie’s Book Reviews
Friday, April 27th: Instagram: @_literary_dreamer_
TBD: History from a Woman’s Perspective

My final word: I have become a fan of authors Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie. I love the way they write their characters, and the way they can make learning fun, so you don't even know you are learning and reliving history. Eliza Schuyler Hamilton is an impressive story character, as was the real woman! Hamilton is a passionate, intelligent, ambitious man burdened with illegitimacy and doomed to die in what has probably become US History's most famous duel. His wife Eliza would go on to fight to preserve his legacy, before dying at the ripe old age of 97. I would recommend this book not only to fans of historical fiction, but to those who love historical romance. Loved it!

Buy Now:
Barnes and Noble

My Rating:

The Cerebral Girl is a forty-something blogger just digging her way out from under a mountain of books in the deep south of Florida.

I received a copy of this book to review through TLC Book Tours and the publisher, in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not financially compensated in any way, and the opinions expressed are my own and based on my observations while reading this novel

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

TLC BOOK TOURS and REVIEW: I'll Be Your Blue Sky by Marisa de los Santos


The New York Times bestselling author revisits the characters from her beloved novels Love Walked In and Belong to Me in this captivating, beautifully written drama involving family, friendship, secrets, sacrifice, courage, and true love for fans of Jojo Moyes, Elin Hilderbrand, and Nancy Thayer.

On the weekend of her wedding, Clare Hobbes meets an elderly woman named Edith Herron. During the course of a single conversation, Edith gives Clare the courage to do what she should have done months earlier: break off her engagement to her charming, yet overly possessive, fiancé.

Three weeks later, Clare learns that Edith has died—and has given her another gift. Nestled in crepe myrtle and hydrangea and perched at the marshy edge of a bay in a small seaside town in Delaware, Blue Sky House now belongs to Clare. Though the former guest house has been empty for years, Clare feels a deep connection to Edith inside its walls, which are decorated with old photographs taken by Edith and her beloved husband, Joseph.

Exploring the house, Clare finds two mysterious ledgers hidden beneath the kitchen sink. Edith, it seems, was no ordinary woman—and Blue Sky House no ordinary place. With the help of her mother, Viviana, her surrogate mother, Cornelia Brown, and her former boyfriend and best friend, Dev Tremain, Clare begins to piece together the story of Blue Sky House—a decades-old mystery more complex and tangled than she could have imagined. As she peels back the layers of Edith’s life, Clare discovers a story of dark secrets, passionate love, heartbreaking sacrifice, and incredible courage. She also makes startling discoveries about herself: where she’s come from, where she’s going, and what—and who—she loves.

Shifting between the 1950s and the present and told in the alternating voices of Edith and Clare, I’ll Be Your Blue Sky is vintage Marisa de los Santos—an emotionally evocative novel that probes the deepest recesses of the human heart and illuminates the tender connections that bind our lives.

Hardcover, 320 pages
Published March 6th 2018 by William Morrow
ISBN 0062431935 (ISBN13: 9780062431936)

About the Author
A New York Times bestselling author and award-winning poet with a PhD in literature and creative writing, Marisa de los Santos lives in Wilmington, Delaware, with her family. 

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My Thoughts
It was what she would remember always: how the second she stepped inside, before she'd so much as taken her first full breath of new air, she was struck by the feeling-- the understanding, the certainty-- however improbably, that the house was Joseph.
In the days leading up to her marriage, bride Clare is conflicted. She loves her fiance, but she is having doubts. Everyone reassures her that it is perfectly normal to have doubts as your wedding day looms.

Then a fortuitous meeting with Edith changes everything. An elderly woman, there is something wise and yet youthful about Edith that strikes Clare. It feels as if Edith knows her-- sees inside her. Their meeting is relatively brief yet profound, and quite literally changes Clare's life.

Weeks later Clare learns that Edith has died and left her a house at the beach.While exploring the house, Clare soon find her and her close family and friends working to solve a mystery pieced together from neighborhood stories, hidden ledgers and old news stories.
I would like to thank TLC Book Tours for including me on this tour. Check out the website for the full tour schedule:

Tuesday, March 6th: Openly Bookish
Wednesday, March 7th: Time 2 Read
Thursday, March 8th: bookchickdi
Friday, March 9th: The Sketchy Reader
Monday, March 12th: BookNAround
Tuesday, March 13th:
Wednesday, March 14th: Kahakai Kitchen
Thursday, March 15th: G. Jacks Writes
Monday, March 19th: Literary Quicksand
Tuesday, March 20th: Broken Teepee
Wednesday, March 21st: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
Thursday, March 22nd: A Bookish Way of Life
Friday, March 23rd: Into the Hall of Books

My final word: This is my introduction to the author. To be honest, I actually have Love Walked In, but I still haven't found the time to read it. I'm glad that I found the time to read this one! There's good character development, and while the story has the old "someone leaves someone else a house" storyline and romance mingled in, there is a parallel mystery storyline to give it a fresh twist. I especially enjoyed the playful and intuitive relationship between Clare and her best friend /ex-boyfriend Dev. I would happily recommend this one to my book club!

Buy Now:
Barnes and Noble

My Rating:

The Cerebral Girl is a forty-something blogger just digging her way out from under a mountain of books in the deep south of Florida.

I received a copy of this book to review through TLC Book Tours and the publisher, in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not financially compensated in any way, and the opinions expressed are my own and based on my observations while reading this novel. The book that I received was an uncorrected proof, and quotes could differ from the final release.  

Monday, March 19, 2018

TLC BOOK TOURS and REVIEW: In Praise of Difficult Women by Karen Karbo


From Frida Kahlo and Elizabeth Taylor to Nora Ephron, Carrie Fisher, and Lena Dunham, this witty narrative explores what we can learn from the imperfect and extraordinary legacies of 29 iconic women who forged their own unique paths in the world.

Smart, sassy, and unapologetically feminine, this elegantly illustrated book is an ode to the bold and charismatic women of modern history. Best-selling author Karen Karbo (The Gospel According to Coco Chanel) spotlights the spirited rule breakers who charted their way with little regard for expectations: Amelia Earhart, Helen Gurley Brown, Edie Sedgwick, Hillary Clinton, Amy Poehler, and Shonda Rhimes, among others. Their lives--imperfect, elegant, messy, glorious--provide inspiration and instruction for the new age of feminism we have entered. Karbo distills these lessons with wit and humor, examining the universal themes that connect us to each of these mesmerizing personalities today: success and style, love and authenticity, daring and courage. Being "difficult," Karbo reveals, might not make life easier. But it can make it more fulfilling--whatever that means for you.

In the Reader's Guide included in the back of the book, Karbo asks thought-provoking questions about how we relate to each woman that will make for fascinating book club conversation.

Hardcover, 352 pages
Published February 27th 2018 by National Geographic Society
ISBN 1426217749 (ISBN13: 9781426217746)

About the Author

KAREN KARBO is the author of multiple award-winning novels, memoirs and works of nonfiction. Her best-selling “Kick-Ass Women” series includes The Gospel According to Coco Chanel: Life Lessons from the World’s Most Elegant Woman, which was an international bestseller. Karbo’s short stories, essays, articles and reviews have appeared in Elle, Vogue, Esquire, Outside, the New York Times, Salon, and other publications. She is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction, and a winner of the General Electric Younger Writer Award. Karbo lives in Portland, Oregon, where she continues to kick ass.

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My Thoughts
The book you hold in your hands is about women who insisted on being difficult.
We've all heard the old adage about how "well-behaved women seldom make history", and this book is about some of those misbehaving women. The author shares stories and background of 29 women who wouldn't be constrained by societies boundaries and expectations. 

Women like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who wasn't afraid to embrace motherhood and marriage in the age of rising feminism while being a career driven, independent woman. A woman who for years was the lone voice for women and equal rights on the supreme court. The term "gender discrimination" started with her (well, actually with her secretary). She has been, and continues to be, an inspiration to countless women, proving you can be strong yet feminine, powerful without overpowering, that you can fully commit to a relationship and yet maintain your independence and self-identity. As the author states:'s hard to believe a woman so genteel and soft-spoken is such a mighty litigator. Her mother-in-law once advised her that the key to a happy marriage was sometimes pretending to be a little deaf; Ruth has said the same applies to being a female Supreme Court justice. "When a thoughtless or unkind word is spoken, best to tune it out," she observed. "Reacting in anger or annoyance will not advance one's ability to persuade."
...Proving, in case there was any doubt, that you don't need to possess the strapping badass countenance of Xena Warrior Princess to be a truly, deeply difficult woman.
And did I mention that the woman is  85 years old and still works out at the gym twice a week doing things like side-planks and one-legged squats? The woman is amazing!

And women like Helen Gurley Brown, who did things by her own book, becoming one of the first female copywriters at the age of 30, married when she was 37 (in the age of spinsters, she eschewed marriage until she found someone interesting enough with whom to settle down, but had fun playing the field in the meantime), made the conscious choice to not have children (*gasp*), and at age 40 wrote Sex and the Single Girl, which was rife with "wisdom" she'd picked up regarding dating as a single woman in the 50s (dating single and married men alike. She found work to offer a large supply of men).
She came to learn from her life as a single girl that when it came to men, as long as you were naked and smiling, they were happy. In the era of No Sex Before Marriage, this attitude was societal high treason.
Or there is my idol and oh-how-I-wish-she-was-my-mentor Jane Goodall, who pioneered the study of chimpanzee behavior. As a young woman, Jane had graduated from secretarial college in 1952. Later she went to visit friends in Africa, and while in Nairobi she had a fortuitous meeting with archaeologist and paleoanthropologist Dr. Louis Leakey. He saw something in her and invited her to join him on an archaeological dig. Impressed with her patience and meticulous method, he offered her the opportunity to go setup camp in Gombe to study the chimpanzees there. And Jane, in a world where unmarried girls live with their families and get jobs as secretaries and teachers, didn't hesitate to jump at the opportunity. Jane shook the scientific community with her observations, her findings causing them to redefine man. I think that may constitute as being "difficult"! Then to make things worse, she anthropomorphized the chimps, "attributing human traits" to them, which is taboo in the scientific community. She came under fire many times, but she didn't back down. Much like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Jane was soft-spoken and genteel, but strong and determined. In regard to an uncomfortable interview where comedian John Oliver attempted to get Jane to play along, the author says:
It's a terrific, awkward moment of television where a woman refused to smile, become giddy and jokey to relieve a tense moment and make everyone feel better. It would have been so easy for her to go along with the joke, to make light of her life's work. But being difficult, she wasn't about to give in. Difficult women aren't all swashbuckling extroverts who shoot off their mouths and shout down their adversaries. Sometimes they just sit quietly and refuse to pretend to be agreeable.
Sorry, but I so identify with this passage!

I enjoyed this book. I liked the profiles, I liked the relaxed and approachable writing style that didn't leave me feeling as if I were reading a text book biography. The author chose a great selection of women to represent the "difficult" woman. And visually I really liked the use of red ink to contrast with the deep black ink, as well as the sketches of each woman at the beginning of each chapter.

I would like to thank TLC Book Tours for including me on this tour. Check out the website for the full tour schedule:

Tuesday, February 27th: A Bookish Way of Life
Thursday, March 1st: A Bookish Affair
Monday, March 5th: Broken Teepee
Tuesday, March 6th: Ms. Nose in a Book
Wednesday, March 7th: Literary Quicksand
Tuesday, March 13th: Tina Says…
Wednesday, March 14th: Doing Dewey
Thursday, March 15th: Bibliotica
Friday, March 16th: bookchickdi
Monday, March 19th: Openly Bookish
Monday, March 19th: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
TBD: 5 Minutes For Books

My final word: The author does a great job at presenting us with 29 glorious examples of difficult women.They were chosen for all sorts of reasons: for speaking their minds, for bucking the system, for being fearless, for setting new standards and shattering glass ceilings. For leaving footsteps that we may follow in, and for encouraging us to go off the beaten path and find our own track.And encouraging all of us to be at least a little bit difficult. Love this book!

Buy Now:
National Geographic
Barnes and Noble

My Rating:

The Cerebral Girl is a forty-something blogger just digging her way out from under a mountain of books in the deep south of Florida.

I received a copy of this book to review through TLC Book Tours and the publisher, in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not financially compensated in any way, and the opinions expressed are my own and based on my observations while reading this novel. 

Thursday, March 8, 2018

REVIEW: Jefferson's America by Julie M. Fenster


The surprising story of how Thomas Jefferson commanded an unrivaled age of American exploration—and in presiding over that era of discovery, forged a great nation.

At the dawn of the nineteenth century, as Britain, France, Spain, and the United States all jockeyed for control of the vast expanses west of the Mississippi River, the stakes for American expansion were incalculably high. Even after the American purchase of the Louisiana Territory, Spain still coveted that land and was prepared to employ any means to retain it. With war expected at any moment, Jefferson played a game of strategy, putting on the ground the only Americans he could: a cadre of explorers who finally annexed it through courageous investigation.

Responsible for orchestrating the American push into the continent was President Thomas Jefferson. He most famously recruited Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, who led the Corps of Discovery to the Pacific, but at the same time there were other teams who did the same work, in places where it was even more crucial. William Dunbar, George Hunter, Thomas Freeman, Peter Custis, and the dauntless Zebulon Pike—all were dispatched on urgent missions to map the frontier and keep up a steady correspondence with Washington about their findings.

But they weren’t always well-matched—with each other and certainly not with a Spanish army of a thousand soldiers or more. These tensions threatened to undermine Jefferson’s goals for the nascent country, leaving the United States in danger of losing its foothold in the West. Deeply researched and inspiringly told, Jefferson’s America rediscovers the robust and often harrowing action from these seminal expeditions and illuminates the president’s vision for a continental America.

Hardcover, 368 pages
Published May 10th 2016 by Crown (first published March 25th 2014) 
About the Author

Julie M. Fenster is the author of many works of American history, including The Case of Abraham Lincoln, Race of the Century, the award-winning Ether Day, and, with Douglas Brinkley, Parish Priest, which was a New York Times bestseller. She also cowrote the PBS documentary First Freedom, about the Founders and religious liberty. She lives in Upstate New York.

My Thoughts
John James Audobon, the orinthologist and painter, left his family at home in Ohio in October of 1820 and traveled in a slight state of desperation to New Orleans, a well-worn city newly vibrant and very rich.
A couple of years ago I read a fictional account of the life of Jefferson's oldest daughter Patsy, and it really piqued my interest about her father. So when the opportunity came to read this accounting of Jefferson and the exploration of The Louisiana Purchase I jumped at it.

Jefferson was rather forward thinking and was determined to "go west" and expand the US from sea to "shining sea". In pursuit of this dream, he made The Louisiana Purchase from the French in 1803.

This book is made up of the tales of the infamous team of Lewis and Clark, as well as lesser known explorers like Pike, Freeman and Custis and Dunbar and Hunter, whom Jefferson sent to explore The Louisiana Purchase. Lewis and Clark's main objective was to follow the Missouri River west and find whether it would offer a route to the Pacific. They were also expected to watch for opportunities of trade, resource availability, and document wildlife and native peoples encountered along the way, all of which was logged in detail in their diaries.

The book includes a handy map of the US in 1803-1804, pictures of the explorers, photos of things they encountered during their adventures, and excerpts from the explorer's diaries as well as editorial articles.

Buy Now:

Barnes and Noble

My final word: Providing a good overview of both the expeditions and the politics of the time, I rather liked this book, although it could get a little too detailed at times for my tastes. Recommended for lovers of history.

My Rating:

The Cerebral Girl is a nearing-fifty blogger just digging her way out from under a mountain of books in the deep south of Florida.

I received a copy of this book to review through Blogging for Books, in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not financially compensated in any way, and the opinions expressed are my own and based on my observations while reading this novel.