West Virginia author David H. Jones, a former U. S. Navy officer, combines his military training with his passion for writing in a new Civil War novel from Staghorn Press; Two Brothers: One North, One South. While I typically am not a fan of historical fiction, there have been a few works that I have liked over the years. Now, I will add Jones’ interesting story to that relatively short list. Unlike many quasi-historical novels that are poorly researched with glaring errors, Jones has skillfully mixed solid research with a creative and well-executed storyline. The end result is a wonderful book that captures the imagination of the reader, while intermixing enough history to be highly credible.
The central character is the famous poet, Walt Whitman, who visits a military hospital in Washington D.C. and meets two brothers–one Union, one Confederate–who are patients in different wards. Through his compassion and tender care, the two opposing brothers are united through a common linkage, despite their inability to directly communicate. Although a work of fiction, the book draws the reader into the plot in a fashion that almost makes you believe the events actually occurred.
Eminently readable with a good flow and timing, Two Brothers is a work you may have a hard time putting down. Unforgettable characters, set in the turbulent backdrop of Civil War America, make this work stand apart from the recent rash of historical fiction. It’s well worth a leisurely read.