Thursday, February 15, 2018

Review: Everything We Lose: A Civil War Novel of Hope, Courage and Redemption by Annette Oppenlander @AOppenlander

Everything We Lose
A Civil War Novel of Hope, Courage and Redemption
by Annette Oppenlander

Published: February 17, 2018
Publisher: Oppenlander Enterprises LLC
Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult


A farm boy’s choice to protect his friend, a slave, from a brutal attack forces both on separate journeys: one escapes into war, the other is sold into slavery. Told from alternating viewpoints, one black and one white, Surviving the Fatherland author Annette Oppenlander delivers another stunning historical tale set against the epic backdrop of the American Civil War—a breathtaking examination of the power of hope and friendship, and the endurance of the human spirit to find a way home.

Tennessee, 1861. Fifteen-year-old farm boy Adam Brown would do anything to protect his friend Tip, a slave at the neighboring plantation—even if it means fighting Nathan Billings, the rich and obnoxious landowner’s son. But when it seems his attack has killed Nathan, Adam has no choice but to run away and join the Union Army under an assumed name. Together with Wes, a chatty soldier with a few secrets of his own, Adam embarks on a traumatic odyssey through the war-torn Midwest. As his soul darkens with the atrocities of war, all he wants is to go home. But in order to do that—if he survives—he must face his past.

Unbeknownst to Adam, sixteen-year old Tip is sold to a farmer who takes drunken pleasure in torturing his slaves. Tip quickly realizes that if he wants to survive he must run. Ahead lie hundreds of miles of unknown country, infested by slave owners, traders, starvation and cold. And so begins a journey of escape and recapture, of brutal attacks and unexpected kindness. When a rescue by the Underground Railroad goes terribly wrong, Tip finds himself caring for a pregnant runaway, his journey seemingly at an end. They have reached the Ohio River, a vast watery expanse impossible to cross. It is only a matter of time before roaming slave traders will pick them up—he will never see his mother and his best friend again.

My Review:

Fifteen-year-old Adam Brown, a farm boy visits his best friend Tipper “Tip”, a slave on a plantation close to his home one day and while he is there Tip is attacked. Adam thinks his friend is about to die so he rushes the person attacking Tip. Adam believing that he is a murderer now knows that he must leave his homeland or suffer the consequence.

Adams leaves and goes up north changes his name, enlists in the army like his father to help fight to free the slaves. Adam meets another young man, Wes while he is in the army who has a few secrets of his own. Adam and Wes become fast friends, a friendship that will last a lifetime.

After Adam leaves Tip is sold to another slave owner and his beaten more than once. Tip decides that the only choice he has is to run away but running away only gets him recaptured and right back into slavery he goes. Tip thinks if he can only escape and make it up north he can be a free man. He has heard about black men and white men working side by side in factories in the north.

When Annette contacted me about reading Everything We Lose and I read the summary I was hooked well actually I don’t really have to read the summary to know if I want to read a book that Annette has written if she wrote it then I know I will love it. Although the books are very sad they help to teach us a little bit about our society. I choked up on a few occasions while reading Everything We Lose but I did enjoy following both Adam and Tip’s POV and hearing their stories from them.

I have loved reading books about the civil war and slavery ever since I read Roots and Gone With the Wind and watched the movies. I also like reading books about other wars like books about WWII and Hitler like The Diary of Anne Frank or books about the Vietnam War ever since I saw two tv shows, Tour of Duty and China Beach and after reading Peter Straub’s Koko. With the Vietnam War, it has always bothered me about so many guys that are MIA when they may not actually be missing in action.

Annette has done it again! She has written another great book one that will stay with me for a long time to come if not forever. If you are looking for a great book about the civil war and slavery that is right up there with Roots or Gone With the Wind then look no further as I think Everything We Lose will fit that category to a tee.

Author Bio:
Annette Oppenlander is an award-winning writer, literary coach and educator. As a bestselling historical novelist, Oppenlander is known for her authentic characters and stories based on true events, coming alive in well-researched settings. Having lived in Germany the first half of her life and the second half in various parts in the U.S., Oppenlander inspires readers by illuminating story questions as relevant today as they were in the past.

Oppenlander’s bestselling true WWII story, Surviving the Fatherland, was elected to IWIC’s Hall of Fame and won the 2017 National Indie Excellence Award. Her historical time-travel trilogy, Escape from the Past, takes readers to the German Middle Ages and the Wild West. Uniquely, Oppenlander weaves actual historical figures and events into her plots, giving readers a flavor of true history while enjoying a good story. Oppenlander shares her knowledge through writing workshops at colleges, libraries and schools. She also offers vivid presentations and author visits. The mother of fraternal twins and a son, she recently returned to her home, Solingen, Germany where she lives with her husband and old mutt, Mocha.

"Nearly every place holds some kind of secret, something that makes history come alive. When we scrutinize people and places closely, history is no longer a number, it turns into a story."