For the sake of those who have not yet read JANE, some of the
comments below have been edited to remove specific disclosures of
the plot. Some comments came as email messages; most were
entered over this website.
Comments are in order received; most recent on top.
Excellent reading. Flustrating at times but overall A-1. Looking forward to next novel.
I was given the book by a cousin. I am Italian and I love American history. I read the
book while I was working at a community theatre on a African-American production.
I passed the book to a friend and she passed it to another friend and so on. Everyone
enjoyed the book. Thank you for the research and the easy reading. When are we
going to read part two?
I am commenting because of your statement that you are not more focused on
'attracting readers than making a profit.' Wow... you are a true author. I really enjoyed
the character of Jane and would rather have experienced her life 1st person than 3rd.
Oh course, we would have missed out on other's prediciments, such as Adam's
conflictions. I understand now more than ever the evils of slavery and the division that
split America. From property to personhood... Jane was always Jane no matter how
other's viewed her. Thanks for the story.
Jane was pregnant during her entire escapade. I felt that the time period for her escape
should have taken longer than the actual nine month pregnancy. In other words, a lot
happened during the pregnancy and I was beginning to wonder if you had forgotten
that she is pregnant. A lot miffed that she didn't deliver at the end of the book. I don't
think her pregnancy and her health were very realistic. No one of us who have carried
a child could stand to go through all she went through! But it certainly made for a
good read. Would like to read another. Do you have one? I love historical fiction
because it is an easy way to acquire factual information. Thank you for the
bibliography. I know now you worked in true events. Thank you for a good read.
Is there a sequel to "Jane"? Please email if there is, can't find anything more at the
library. Someone said there is a movie, "The Abolitionists". Is this the movie form of
"Jane?" [Answer: Unfortunately the movie rights to "Jane" have not been picked up,
but we are always hopeful and will publicize the event should it occur. DD]
I am a 27 yr old, UVA graduate (with a history major focusing on African history &
the American South) living in Culpeper, Virginia. I love your book "Jane" & am
currently in the middle of it. However, I have found numerous typos that I thought
you might like to be made aware of. [The most serious are referenced -- especially
ones on page 233. Although we arranged several proof reading passes by qualified
experts, we acknowledge and apologize for what are clearly too many typos. DD]. I
just thought that you might be interested to know what I was noticing as I progressed
through the remainder of the book. It's such an interesting & well written novel that it
would be a shame for these little mistakes to go unfixed!
[The writer mentioned several specific plot criticism that are appreciated, but deleted
here for the benefit of those who have not read the novel yet. Although I feel the
comments have some merit, I believe they are not plot problems. DD] But it certainly
made for a good read. Would like to read another. Do you have one? I love historical
fiction because it is an easy way to acquire factual information. Thank you for the
bibliography. I know now you worked in true events. Thank you for a good read.
I am looking for another novel by Donald Devine.
When will the next Donald Devine novel come out? I understand "Jane" is the first in a
I am looking for another novel by Donald Devine.
Are there other "Jane" books coming? Is this the only book you have written? I loved
the Jane book and could hardly put it down! Want more!
Thoroughly enjoyed reading the book, especially with the local setting, and the
underground railroad information. Would definitely recommend it to a friend. I live in
Berwyn, Pennsylvania, and would love to hear the author speak here again.
My daughter gave me this book for Christmas because she knew of my love for any
book set before, during and after the Civil Was. I have always been enthralled with the
history of that time. I started the book yesterday afternoon and will probably stay up
to finish it tonight. This book is absolutely fabulous and so difficult to put down once
you start reading.
I purchased your book "Jane" for my mother for Christmas (at Booklovers' Gourmet
in Webster, MA ). She loved it couldn't but it down. I was wondering when the next
book is due to come out so I could get that for her also. I'm next on the list to read it
after my aunt :)
I loved reading Jane for many reasons in addition to its being an exciting adventure.
First I felt such a keen connection to the Philadelphia, Lancaster, and Maryland shore
area and what it must have been really like to live there in 1860. Secondly, I admired
the way you were able to develop so many characters in such a way that we “knew”
them, in addition to Jane. Third, I love philosophy and personal relationships and
therefore the many stories involving discussions, personal revelations, and the
resolving of personal conflicts, for example when Jane was a cook and worked with
the children of the household with the result of peaceful and loving relationships.
I have to say I really enjoyed this book.I like the fact that there was a lot of factual
history in the book. I look forward to reading any new book you publish on this
Thank you so much! My husband received the book as a fellow fraternity member. I
loved the story and can't wait to find out what happens to Jane. As I used to live in
Lancaster that portion was very intriguing to me.
Loved the book and I want the sequel to come out. I need to find out what happens to
Jane and her baby. When [plot event occurred] I cried.
I loved your book. When I was in high school I never knew that history was so
interesting. I'm 43 years old, a photographer in Hale, Michigan, and I just love this
book. I'm going to read it again.
One of the best books I ever read. I can't wait for the next in the series. I was
surprised that your proof readers didn't catch some of the typos. I was also curious
why you chose to subtitle the book an historical novel instead of a historical novel.
I am thoroughly enjoying your first book, "Jane", am just about
finished and was wondering when the sequel will be published. It is
so rich with our local history. The book has opened a new venue for
family day trips and a new appreciation for where and how we live and
the struggle so many went through to get to a place of freedom. I love to read but so
few books I read really impact how I view other
people,history, politics and religion as yours has done.
I enjoyed your book so much. It is absolutely delightful. I was recently recovering
from surgery, and your book was the perfect thing for a recovering person to read.
Today, [Inauguration Day], is a very appropriate day to evaluate "Jane: a Flight to
Freedom." Your book & [our new] president make me proud to be an American. On
every page I sensed your energy,compassion & pride in our country. Thank you for
your diligence in creating this moving account of "real" people during a "real" time.[My
copy] is on the way to a friend & then my daughter.
Thank you so much for ... your interesting book. ... Are you planning to write more
books in the Civil War Series? ... Knowing our area of the Eastern Shore is a part of
[your book] makes it even more interesting.
I enjoyed the story thoroughly. I was most impressed with the set of characters
you've developed as exemplary of the times and places of the story. They are fully
realized individuals. You've set yourself an enormous task in following each of them. I
wish you well and will look eagerly for the next installment. Jane will be in my set of
recommended books for my family and friends.
I enjoyed the novel. One of those books I couldn't put down until I read the next
chapter, etc. I only wish I could purchase the sequel. Being from the Phila/Lancaster,
Pa. area, and having traveled through most of the regions mentioned in the novel, I got
a new perspective on the history these regions contain.
I loved this book! I purchased it from the author at the Civil War Museum in
Harrisburg, PA in July of 2008.I am looking forward to the sequel. Please notify me
when it is published. Thank you.
Please let me know when you write another book about "Jane" and her life. Great,
great book, truly enjoyed every page.
I really enjoyed reading this book. I love to read historical fiction and I currently live in
Hampton, Virginia. I grew up in Culpeper Virginia and my grandmother attended
Manassas Industrial School near Bull Run so this book was especially relevant to me.
I am really excited to know when another book following the life of Jane and the other
characters will be available. I will definitely recommend "Jane" to my friends.
I would rate the book to be 99%. I was disappointed about the end. I would like to
see a sequel to Jane and learn of the child and the future of River Oaks Plantation. I
saw the book review in Williamsburg, VA while visiting there and asked the local
library to obtain a copy so I could read it. It was very moving and enjoyable.
I just happened to find this book on the shelves at Barnes & Noble - had not heard of
it - and what a joy to find!! I love historical novels and this fulfilled all my desires!
Please be sure to write a sequel and publicize it so we will know when it is coming out
I just put your book up on the virtual library on facebook. I also rated it at Barnes and
Noble. I want to get you connected to a high school history teacher who I think
would be a great contact for you, since you are willing to speak to high school
After reading your book as a requirement at the book club, and meeting you at last
night's meeting, I am totally ready to endorse your book to
all my friends and to our local library!! I love a good read and civil war
sagas. My copy will go on my bookshelf along with Gone With the Wind!
Am holding my breath until the sequel is published!
Thank you for a very enjoyable read! I live in West Grove, Pennsylvania, so the story
was of particular interest because much of the area that you wrote about is familiar to
me. What I found of most interest, though, was the information about Robert E. Lee's
sentiments and about the situation in
Virginia leading up to secession. I also thought that you did a great job of
communicating the sense of urgency that people must have felt in the very
early days of the war. I guess I have forgotten much of what I learned in
school about that period.
Very interesting and enjoyable book! I am anxious for the sequel.
I already have two colleagues at my elementary school in line to borrow my copy and
another teacher at my gym started reading it because I couldn't give it any higher
praise. As an Anabaptist I was thrilled with Don's portrayal's of different folk's
philosophies. The only time I was disappointed was when descriptions of sexual
intercourse were a little too detailed for my liking. The short chapters are so
wonderful for busy people! I can't wait for book 2--'Tom' I think. My next job is to
figure out how to find on the website how long Don will make us wait for 'Tom." I
love reading -- computers are another thing.
I have just finished reading your novel and I loved it. Being a student at
Michigan State, summer is the time when I get to read and your book was
completely worth my time. When I first picked it up I wasn't too keen on the size of
the book or the size of the print, but I LOVE reading historical
novels about the Civil War so I picked it up. I must say after reading it,
that the size of the book is just right. You let me get to know each one of
the characters so well. Each of their stories were weaved together so well.
I always love stories where I can picture the characters and your story
about Jane was just that. I could picture each character perfectly. You are
very good at making your words come to life. ... I am very excited to read your next
book. ... Thank you for writing a great novel!
I completely enjoyed reading the book, but as with others, I was disappointed by the
ending. I will however be looking for the next book in the series. It was great!
Growing up in the Elizabethtown area was what drew me to purchase this book. Also
my interest in the Civil War and the underground railroad. As you mentioned, the part
about the railroad in Elizabethtown was fictitious, but it is very close to Columbia
where it is known to have been active. Anyway I was very glad I read it. You put a
huge amount of research into making the story factual. I liked the family trees at the
beginning of the book. It made it easier to follow the characters through the first half
of the book until I learned to know them better. You used factual language and didn't
try to sweeten the story to make the reader feel good. I felt that you told it just like it
happened to many folks who lived back then. Mentioning the Elizabethtown Chronicle
was a nice touch. One thing, most people who live in that area refer to Elizabethtown
as E-town. I can't wait for your next book. I will definitely buy it and read it.
My only comment would be the discussion of cerebral palsy and your use of the term
"disabled." Wouldn't the characters use terms such as crippled or afflicted? Otherwise,
I loved your book from the first page to the end. The characters were interesting and I
enjoyed the relationships between them and their contribution to the plot, as the story
evolved. I look forward to the continuing saga as the war plays out.
I really enjoyed this book. I have never read any story or seen any tv/movie about this
era that included the Amish and the Underground Railroad. I liked how the families
intertwined throughout the story, although it was sometimes too hard to believe the
slave catchers running into people they saw a few states away. I loved Jane's
character development. Of course, I wish she could have ...I look forward to reading
other books in this series.
I just completed reading this fantastic novel. I met the author in Worcester,
Massachusetts ... at the local Barnes & Noble store where he graciously signed my
book. The novel is excellent and I cannot wait for volumes 2 -5. I just hope he retains
many of these same characters like Stephen, Jane, Tom, Hulnan and Jime Sharkey. ...
It was truly a wonderful read. Thank you.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Jane. I love history and live in Lancaster County. The
Underground Railroad has always been of interest to me and I now have further
knowledge how PA was involved. I look forward to the next book.
Dear Mr Devine, My husband and I met you at the Barns & Noble store in Camp Hill,
Pa. We bought your book and I told you I would write if I enjoyed it. It was
wonderful. It's hard to believe its your first book. It has it all. It is Imaginative,
descriptive,informative and such a pleasure to read. I think you reach your remaining
goal without getting old. You are a very interesting man. ... Looking forward to your
I don't think we've ever owned an autographed book that I actually read from cover to
cover and so thoroughly enjoyed. I found the first ten pages difficult due to the
accents of slaves and southerners. As I read on, I discovered that I was thoroughly
hooked. I truly found it fascinating to learn about the lives of the slaves, how each
owner treated his/her "possessions" and what life entailed for these people. I simply
couldn't wait to learn more of the story, the characters, and events of 1860-1861. To
know that most of this book was based on places I know and have visited made it
come more alive for me. The development of your characters, your descriptions of
different areas was so vivid and interesting that I could hardly put the book down. I
will certainly be ready to read more of these books. It will be loaned to my neighbor
who finds this type of book very interesting. I'm sure she will enjoy it as much as I
did. Central High School certainly produced some very talented people and Mr. Devine
is truly one of them.
After reading the article in the local Lancaster paper, I put JANE on my "Must Read"
list. I completed it two weeks ago, just in time to recommend it to my book club. All
12 members are excited to read it. We would like to know if you would be able to
meet with us for a discussion this fall. … I do hope this is something that we can
arrange. … I am so glad you have decided to make this a series as I could not get
enough of it. I hated to see it end and mulled over the possibilities for the next book
for days. It really was an amazing time of history and you did an exceptional job of
bringing it to life.
The only criticism I have about "Jane" is that it ended. I am a native of Lancaster
County (9th generation and still live here) and am familiar with all the towns in the
book, and at least one stop on The Underground Railroad - the old Brubaker Duck
Farm about 1/2 Mile north of Bird-in-Hand. Slavery and the south have always been
of interest to me, so needless to say I was mesmerized for 571 pages. … Thank you
for a great read and for allowing me to escape into the past, not to mention a real
learning experience about the development of the Civil War.
Finally read Jane … and I loved it! I loved the multiplicity of plots and characters and
the rich detail, and I was totally hooked into finding out what happened. You're a
natural-born storyteller. In addition, I thought that the writing got better and better as
you progressed. I was disappointed by the ending. Other than that, fabulous. I liked all
the facts. Great characters. I look forward to finding out what happens to them.
What a wonderful historical story! I will look forward to the sequel. One criticism:
several misspelled words. (I am not referring to dialect quotes.) All of the misspellings
found would have been passed over by an electronic spell-checker. One example was
the use of "now" for "know". It is hoped that this will be addressed.
As a writer myself (occasionally professional, occasionally recreational), I appreciate
and applaud that you accomplished this. What a huge undertaking! With every page, I
was thinking about the research, the thought, the planning, the outlining, and my head
just spins. Your structure is just phenomenal … Your layout of the book - simply by
how you unfolded the narrative to the reader - is what kept me reading. I wanted to
find out what happened. I wanted to keep going.
Very interesting and informative. A lot of history was told in this book.
This is a very interesting story. I learned a number of interesting things about the time
period. Several members of my family have read the book, and we all found it an
enjoyable read. I highly recommend it.
The background focused on the history and this made the plight of the characters
heart thumping. ... The ending leaves you hanging and wanting to learn more about
Jane and her band of followers.
Jane is the first novel I've read in decades, but I had a special reason to read it. To be
honest, I found it quite a bit too long, but I plowed ahead anyway. The characters
really came alive, and much of the action was very gripping. I was a little disappointed
in the ending, but I guess that's why I don't read fiction very often.
Jane is an excellent book! I have told family and friends alike to get a copy. I was very
impressed with the style of writing as well as the compelling plot. I have heard that the
author Don Devine is planning a sequel. How can we be notified? When and where
will the next book be available? This was an amazing piece of literature. I look forward
to the next and possibly if he is willing, many more. I don't often find modern books
that are written at this level of detail. I have added Jane to our library. If Mr. Devine
publishes any other novels I would like to be notified.
Well researched material, surrounded by intriguing characters who come to life in an
ever developing plot. I felt that the first chapters could have been more inviting. But
once I got past the beginning, I was hooked and felt compelled to read on endlessly
hour after hour. It was a great read and I thank you for writing this novel. Please
continue to write, your work is very much appreciated.
Being a history buff I especially enjoyed reading the perspective of someone other than
only the so-called power elite or war hero...the author cleverly intertwines a slave girl
with all the strata of pre-Civil War persona and shows that she is more than their
equal...a well thought out storyline that will hopefully be continued by the next in the
The characters were very well developed. It was easy to visualize their individual traits
and get involved in the unique situations of many of the more interesting characters.
This book (series) would be the idea behind a great movie as it shows Jane's personal
growth and charm, her appealing personality, and her potential for true leadership.
Others would do well to emulate her. The author skillfully used many of our strong
emotions (love, sex, ambition, values, betrayal, etc.) to keep his readers engrossed in
the plot as he weaved this lifelike story of which we were all aware, but need to be
reminded. I thoroughly enjoyed it.!
I just wanted you to know how much I enjoyed your book Jane, I am very fond of
historical fiction so I appreciated all the history in the book. Once I got all the
characters and families sorted out, I was able to move right along. I had taken it on
vacation and when I was telling a friend in
Oregon about it she said it sounded like a book her book club would be
interested [in]. I am interested in reading the next book in the series. Thanks for a
I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Mr. Devine is a marvelous raconteur. Jane is an
intriguing first novel, providing an in-depth look at America in the pre-Civil War days.
Mr. Devine has created interesting and very varied characters and does a fine job of
moving from subplot to subplot and then tying them all together at the end. His
knowledge of an incredibly wide range of topics -- from Dunkards to daguerreotypes,
from politics to boats, to name just a few -- is staggering. (I do wonder if at times
there is almost too much detail provided.) I look forward to reading Book 2 in this
series and finding out what happens next to Jane.
I sincerely hope there will be a sequel. The book was great but it read like the author
suddenly realized he only had 10 more pages to wrap things up. Too many loose ends.
What a great book! Can't wait to find out where Jane goes next, how the baby is, who
survives the war, how some of the complicated relationships (like Adam Wright and
Thomas) work out. Thanks!
JANE is a fun read, and the novel bounces back and forth between various inter-
related plot lines in a way that keeps the reader from tiring. The novel presents a slice
of life of nearly a year, but it's clear that the novel is just that -- a "slice" of a greater,
longer, farther reaching life; the story begins as if already in the middle of a greater
plot, and ends with little or no actual resolution, as if to say, "Just because the book is
through doesn't mean the characters don't continue on." In this way the novel is very
Good read. IMHO at least as good a piece of historical fiction as Jakes' "The Bastard."
Jane shows an amazing amount of historical research and conveys it to the
reader. The characters and times feel very real. The positives far out weigh any
negatives. The only real change I would have liked was the ending. It was anti-
climatic and left the reader feeling unsatisfied. I understand that you are going to
write following novels with a continuation of the basic story, but I have read many
series of novels that give a conclusion to the immediate story. Also, at times I skipped
parts of the dialogues when they felt a little long. Overall, the novel was amazingly
A slow read for me, but it picks up after a few chapters. I can appreciate the research
that went into the history and background of the novel. I especially found interesting
the articulate and cultured comments that Thomas made towards the end. He
abandons the slave patois and speaks of the future of the U.S. in which equality will be
truly found. Reminds me of some of the passages in Hugo's "les Miserables" in which
he predicts the progress of the human race in the 20th century, as though the steam
engine and the telegraph would bring about the same progress in human behavior in
the 20th century. We know better. Also written about the time of the American Civil
War. Anyway, looking forward to other books in the series.
I consider myself an avid reader. The book "Jane" was a good book, although the
middle of the story was a little slow at times. Whatever happened to Amos? I do enjoy
adventure and history, therefore I am looking forward to future writings by Don
Enjoyed the book and will lend my copy to others. Fantastic first book. Minor
negatives: a little too long and Jane is too good; no anger, resentment.
After finishing reading the bestseller, "Measuring the World" by the German author,
Daniel Kehlmann, I read "Jane" by my friend and Cold River Valley neighbor, Don
Devine. I can truly say that I enjoyed Don's book much more than Kehlmann's and
that "Jane" would be a best seller if it could get to enough bookstores and libraries.
This comment has nothing to do with my friendship with Don. His development of all
the major characters in the book (and there were many) and their interrelationships
was exquisitely done. The fact that the author also included family trees of major
families in the novel was helpful, particularly when you read novels, as I tend to do,
one or two chapters a night. By the way, the chapters are blessedly short. As other
previous commentaries have mentioned, there is much to learn from this novel about
the tumultuous times leading up to the (un)civil war that barely managed to keep the
nation together in spite of the internecine behavior of a relatively small group of
individuals. Similarly there is much to be learned in this novel about the effects of the
awful laws passed by Congress to punish those who tried to help slaves, like Jane, to
eventually find their freedom in Canada. Unfortunately the book ends before Jane finds
her freedom after several breath taking adventures but we can hope that in a sequel
she does - she certainly deserves it.
JANE is a great read and a hard-to-put-down book. I was hooked from the very first
chapter. I found the story to be a very revealing and compelling portrait how the
underground railroad actually operated. I found myself totally engrossed in the
adventures that Jane experienced. I actually found myself thinking about her during
the day -- wondering how she would survive the next obstacle she was facing. Loved
the book, just wished that it didn't end so abruptly. Can't wait to read the next sequel.
I want to know what happened to Jane and her many friends as the war progressed.
... I believe the story contains all the qualities that would make for a great motion
I read Jane very carefully ... It is a page turner in the best sense of the term. The
historical context is interesting and the use of your fictional characters to serve as a
means of describing it is terrific. I was conscious of the manner in which each
character is introduced and I consider that my instant engagement with them to be a
special gift of the author. I have passed the book on to my wife suggesting that she
would find it a good read. The book ends with a hook and I very much look forward
to the next installment in the lives of both the characters and American society.
We felt there was too much detail about the battles and armies in the Civil War. We
were somewhat disappointed in the ending.
An interesting historical novel with an enlightening plot.
I did enjoy "Jane". What drew me to the book was the fact it was about the
Underground Railroad. I grew up in a small town in New York that claims to have
been a stop for the Underground Railroad. The book brought me more information
about that subject. The family trees were very helpful as I needed to reference them
often early on in the book. I would like to read more of this series.(We welcomed but
did not post additional comments which dealt with plot specifics and the book's
An interesting book that gave me more perspective on the plight of slaves than I had
from reading pure histories.
I really enjoyed reading the book of Jane right from the beginning. I learned some
things about slavery that I guess I never thought about. Thoroughly enjoyed the
characters in the book and the families and look forward to reading your other books
in this series and will be interesting what story line you have for some of the
characters from Jane.
I loved the book and had trouble putting it down to go to sleep. I can't wait for more
from this author.
I truly loved your book, as it stretched my intellectual and emotional thinking. I also
really enjoyed the depth and historical knowledge therein. I look forward to all of your
books in the future! Thank you so much for sharing your gift of writing in such an
Jane was a fun ride back in time without too much history to weigh it down. With so
much action and lots of twists, it kept me guessing and racing to find out what
happens next. I enjoyed it immensely and will be passing it on to my friends.
The author places underground railway runaway slave Jane and her companions in
historical context with dialogue and page turning escapes from slave traders. The sea
escape sounds like the author was there running wing and wing before the seas of the
coming civil war.
Incredibly entertaining. I couldn't put the book down unless I had to stop for eating or
sleeping. Excellent effort.
I have really enjoyed this novel. However I did have some trouble at the beginning
keeping all of the characters clear in my mind. Once I got well into the book, it
became easier and I always had trouble putting it down. I have found it very
educational and would read more from this author.
I loved the book. I had trouble putting it down at the end of a chapter. The historical
facts were very interesting, and I learned quite a bit of history from reading this novel.
I was very disappointed with the ending though.
I will be a little more critical than the others who have commented. For the most part I
found the novel interesting, enlightening and relatively fast moving. The middle 500
pages were just that. I was somewhat off set by the beginning dialogue and the depth
of historical and local detail. The end of the novel really disturbed me. Perhaps I would
not have felt quite this strongly if instead of 'THE END' you had said 'TO BE
CONTINUED'. The ending reminded me of the 40's and 50's Saturday movie house
shorts that always ended in a 'cliff hanger' or in today's age the TV serials that end the
season with a 'cliff hanger'. My opinion, of course, but I believe a novel should have
an end. This does not mean that a later novel can not reintroduce the same characters,
main and minor, good and bad,. i.e, the Harry Potter novels or Ludlum's 'Bourne'
series. I hope my honesty isn't too upsetting. A great first effort.
What a special and heart-warming novel. It is written so beautifully that I could see
and feel the story and did not want to put it down. The diverse cultures and plantation
relationships made me realize how little I (being an immigrant) know about the history
of America. It makes me appreciate so much more the Afro-American past, the
struggles and the unbelievable courage and strength which are demonstrated so very
well - history comes alive. I hope a movie will some day tell the story. Congratulations
and write more !
The factual basis for the story was very well researched, and if you like historical
novels, this one stands out. The characters were rich and believable, and it was a heart
warming story. I couldn't put it down!
I just finished your book Mr. Devine. Let me say this, it left me hungry for more. As
an African-American woman with a passion for local Underground Railroad history,
and slavery in America, I was naturally intrigued when I found your book. I made the
purchase however, primarily because we both reside in Ann Arbor. I was expecting a
shallow, romanticized, "Thorn Birds"-type, novel. I was expecting to find the
stereotypical "mandingo" and "southern belle" characters. I just knew I would discover
and then have to decipher exaggerated, clipped slave monologue. I had expected a
novel that would not stay true to history as I understood it. What I found instead was
a wonderful study of the dynamics of plantation relationships; owner vs. slave, house
vs. field slaves. You compare and contrast the motivations and struggles of
blacks/whites, Quakers/Protestants, Republicans/Democrats, Free states/Slave states,
educated/skilled, wealthy/poor, Free blacks and the enslaved. The list goes on.
I loved the book and learned more about the Civil War period than I ever learned in
school. I am a history buff and felt that I could relate to the people of that time more
than I ever dreamed possible. My only disappointment was with the ending which left
so many questions unanswered. I guess I shall have to wait for the next book.
This is a vibrant tale of adventure with greatly diverse and interesting characters who
navigate through a most challenging period of history into which the reader is given
quite an enlightening look. One experiences the flavor of the times, of the various
social strata, as well as getting a feel for the diverse cultures of the groups from
which the characters are selected. The excellent verbal rendering of events makes
reading this book feel as if one were seeing the story - the characters and their
adventures - in a motion picture. It's an enlightening and exciting tale that leaves the
reader wanting to know more. What happened to all those people whom one has come
to know and care about?
I live in the area described by your book, which makes it seem all the more interesting.
I am not a frequent reader of novels, not a civil war buff, and not very familiar with
the author, so my expectations of the book going in were fairly modest. Well, I was in
for a big surprise! "Jane" turned out to be a fabulous book, a real page-turner. I had
trouble putting it down. And it left me with a very positive feeling. This is a wonderful
book in many ways. Read it. You won't regret it.
Many thanks for your book, which I found absolutely fascinating. You have clearly
done a lot of careful research in creating the setting. The black/white social situation is
intriguing and I suspect your story would make a great movie; it has a lot of visually-
appealing elements: a storm at sea, galloping horses, southern plantations, suspense,
battles, heroes, villains, love, homosexuality, sex, and I could go on.