Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.

#BookReview Ridgeline by Michael Punke @HenryHolt #Ridgeline #MichaelPunke

#BookReview Ridgeline by Michael Punke @HenryHolt #Ridgeline #MichaelPunke Title: Ridgeline

Author: Michael Punke

Published by: Henry Holt and Co. on Jun. 1, 2021

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 384

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Henry Holt and Co.

Book Rating: 10/10

In 1866, with the country barely recovered from the Civil War, new war breaks out on the western frontier–a clash of cultures between a young, ambitious nation and the Native tribes who have lived on the land for centuries. Colonel Henry Carrington arrives in Wyoming’s Powder River Valley to lead the US Army in defending the opening of a new road for gold miners and settlers. Carrington intends to build a fort in the middle of critical hunting grounds, the home of the Lakota. Red Cloud, one of the Lakota’s most respected chiefs, and Crazy Horse, a young but visionary warrior, understand full well the implications of this invasion. For the Lakota, the stakes are their home, their culture, their lives.

As fall bleeds into winter, Crazy Horse leads a small war party that confronts Colonel Carrington’s soldiers with near constant attacks. Red Cloud, meanwhile, seeks to build the tribal alliances that he knows will be necessary to defeat the soldiers. Colonel Carrington seeks to hold together a US Army beset with internal discord. Carrington’s officers are skeptical of their commander’s strategy, none more so than Lieutenant George Washington Grummond, who longs to fight a foe he dismisses as inferior in all ways. The rank-and-file soldiers, meanwhile, are still divided by the residue of civil war, and tempted to desertion by the nearby goldfields.

Throughout this taut saga–based on real people and events–Michael Punke brings the same immersive, vivid storytelling and historical insight that made his breakthrough debut so memorable. As Ridgeline builds to its epic conclusion, it grapples with essential questions of conquest and justice that still echo today.


Review:

Vivid, moving, and exceptionally enthralling!

Ridgeline is an intricate, insightful tale that sweeps you away to the plains of Wyoming in the fall of 1866 when tensions between the soldiers and settlers of the newly formed Fort Phil Kearney and the Sioux people simmers and builds until it finally comes to a head on December 21, 1866, when infamous Lakota leader, Crazy Horse leads a band of multiple tribes in an artfully strategized assault and slaughter of 81 men on Lodge Trail Ridge that not only left this US Army outpost decimated but ultimately foreshadowed the bloodbath yet to come in the 1876 Battle of the Little Bighorn.

The writing is eloquent and expressive. The characters are determined, troubled, and strategic. And the plot using a mix of narration, diary entries, and told from multiple POVs, intertwines and unravels seamlessly into a harrowing tale of life, loss, hardship, culture, dissension, hostility, violence, survival, war, and murder.

Overall, Ridgeline is an exceptionally atmospheric, nuanced, beautifully written novel by Punke that transports you to another time and place and immerses you so thoroughly into the feelings, personalities, and lives of the characters you can’t help but be affected. It is undoubtedly one of my favourite novels of the year that does a wonderful job of reminding us of the extreme conflict and savagery that once graced these vast, rugged, prairie lands that some of us now call home.

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                

 

 

Thank you to Henry Holt and Company for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Michael Punke

Michael Punke is the author of several books including The Revenant, a #1 New York Times bestseller and basis for the Academy Award–winning film. In his diverse professional career, Punke has served as the US ambassador to the World Trade Organization in Geneva, history correspondent for the Montana Quarterly, and an adjunct professor at the University of Montana. As a high school and college student, he worked summers as a living history interpreter at Fort Laramie National Historic Site in Wyoming. He lives with his family in Montana and is an avid outdoorsman.

Photo courtesy of Author's Goodreads Page.

#BookReview We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker @RaincoastBooks @HenryHolt #WeBeginattheEnd #ChrisWhitaker

#BookReview We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker @RaincoastBooks @HenryHolt #WeBeginattheEnd #ChrisWhitaker Title: We Begin at the End

Author: Chris Whitaker

Published by: Henry Holt and Co. on Mar. 2, 2021

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 384

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Raincoast Books

Book Rating: 10/10

There are two kinds of families: the ones we are born into and the ones we create.

Walk has never left the coastal California town where he grew up. He may have become the chief of police, but he’s still trying to heal the old wound of having given the testimony that sent his best friend, Vincent King, to prison decades before. Now, thirty years later, Vincent is being released.

Duchess is a thirteen-year-old self-proclaimed outlaw. Her mother, Star, grew up with Walk and Vincent. Walk is in overdrive trying to protect them, but Vincent and Star seem bent on sliding deeper into self-destruction. Star always burned bright, but recently that light has dimmed, leaving Duchess to parent not only her mother but her five-year-old brother. At school the other kids make fun of Duchess―her clothes are torn, her hair a mess. But let them throw their sticks, because she’ll throw stones. Rules are for other people. She’s just trying to survive and keep her family together.

A fortysomething-year-old sheriff and a thirteen-year-old girl may not seem to have a lot in common. But they both have come to expect that people will disappoint you, loved ones will leave you, and if you open your heart it will be broken. So when trouble arrives with Vincent King, Walk and Duchess find they will be unable to do anything but usher it in, arms wide closed.

Chris Whitaker has written an extraordinary novel about people who deserve so much more than life serves them. At times devastating, with flashes of humor and hope throughout, it is ultimately an inspiring tale of how the human spirit prevails and how, in the end, love―in all its different guises―wins.


Review:

Beautiful, poignant, and incredibly heart-wrenching!

We Begin at the End is a tragic, moving, emotionally-charged novel that takes you into the lives of a handful of people, including the unforgettable, 13-year-old, self-imposed outlaw, Duchess Radley, whose worlds have been irrevocably changed by a fatal accident that occurred thirty years prior that left one of their own dead, another incarcerated for three decades, and the rest haunted and struggling to survive the inevitable repercussions and fallout.

The prose is lyrical and expressive. The characters, including all the supporting characters, are complex, scarred, and conflicted. And the plot is a compelling, sobering tale of life, love, loss, family, friendship, grief, guilt, denial, secrets, abuse, neglect, self-preservation, violence, redemption, and survival.

Overall, We Begin at the End will make you think, it will make you cry, and it will resonate with you long after the final page. It’s an impactful, enthralling, hopeful tale by Whitaker that uses extraordinary character development to weave a combination of an impressive, intricate mystery and a heartbreaking, bittersweet love story all steeped in an abundance of tragedy and pain.

This book is available now. 

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

            

 

 

Thank you to Raincoast Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Chris Whitaker

Chris Whitaker lives in the United Kingdom with his wife and three young children. When not writing he works part-time at a local library, where he gets to surround himself with books. His own authored books include Tall Oaks and All the Wicked Girls.

Photo by David Calvert.

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