Through Antietam, Gettysburg and four years of relentless fighting, Kelsey attempts to cast aside his painful past while trying to survive the horrors of combat. He crosses paths with compelling figures on both sides of the conflict determined to persevere and return to those they left behind. Idealistic Ethan Royston, promoted from the enlisted ranks, believes in preserving the Union but is plagued by insecurity and self-doubt. His closest friend, West Point-trained Cal Garrity, remains loyal to his home state of Virginia despite his misgivings about the virtue of the Southern cause. The war will divide these friends, just as it will divide Garrity from his adoring wife, Emily, the charismatic and headstrong daughter of a prominent Norfolk shipbuilder, forced to face the onset of war alone.
Each will endure unimaginable hardship and brutality that will forever reshape their core beliefs and values. Each will find their strength and resolve tested as they search for self-purpose, humanity, and reconciliation. Most of all, Mac Kelsey will discover the very essence of life and death, and whether the new beginning he has long coveted will bring him the inner peace he has so desperately sought.
Few things can change your life in a moment like an act of war. Poor Kelsey knows all about that. He was injured in the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. And his life wasn't all that great to begin with. So, if I were him, and given the opportunity for a 'redo' on life in another time and place...shoot, I'd take it too.
Unluckily for Kelsey, he didn't really get to choose where and when. He gets out of the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, only to land in the middle of the US Civil War...as a Union soldier. Talk about out of the frying pan and into the fire! Now, I was born in Pennsylvania, and spent my early childhood in the Antietam neighborhood. Some wars are 'us' against 'them'; wars between different factions in a single country make it 'us' against 'us'. I was raised on tales and ghosts of the Civil War, and this book feels like opening a page and stepping into history.
Stark and real, Kutler's use of language is perfect for telling this story. The story is sweeping in nature, epically telling a tale of two different notable times in US history. I appreciate the economical use of words. The point gets across without a lot of extra words and flowery speech. The characters seem like real people, and each has a story that allows us to become emotionally invested in their stories.
I am so happy to hear that Mr. Kutler is working on his next book.
MEET THE AUTHOR
While Andy’s writings have appeared in The Huffington Post and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, The Other Side of Life is his first novel. Andy’s interests include travel, military history, his Wisconsin sports teams, and most importantly, spending time with his wife and two children.
For more information and news please visit Andy Kutler’s Facebook page.
Click on the logo to go to the tour page, where you will find links to several more reviews and an interview with the author! You can also find out how to become a tour guide on your own blog!
(Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the author and publishers via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for my objective review.)
Note: This book helps me fulfill the following 2016 Reading Challenges: