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I'm a writer and library worker who wears many hats. I believe a good book and a good piece of chocolate are the keys to a happy life.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Dawn's Early Light by L.C. Lewis

Some months ago I had the privilege of sitting in on a class taught by L.C. (Laurie) Lewis on her methods for creating historical fiction. What an eye opener! I sat in awe as she talked with shining eyes about spread sheets and file folders and how to get on the good side of your historians and experts. At one point in the class, I believe it was after she mentioned that her research and world building stage lasts at least a year, the woman next to me slumped her seat and sighed, “Man, that’s a lot of work.”

I just smiled and nodded toward Laurie, “She warned you, you can’t write historical fiction if you don’t absolutely love it.”

I knew L.C. Lewis loved what she did. I saw the passion for her subject matter, but it was a thrill to see the physical evidence of that love in book form.

I’m not an avid historical fiction reader. I have to be teased into it by a topic that intrigues me. This time it was not only topic but the writer’s excitement for the subject that convinced me to give it a try. I knew from meeting and learning from Laurie that I could expect a well-researched and enthusiastic story. Laurie has a flair for description and conveying difficult emotions. It was a pleasure to read Dawn’s Early Light.

Covering a portion of the War of 1812, it’s one of a very few fictional accounts of these events. I enjoyed the unique perspective and “Ah! So that’s how it happened,” moments. Reading Dawn’s Early Light was an enlightening experience that I think almost anyone can find pleasure in. For me, the most important message of the story wasn’t actually about the war. While that is very important, the thing that stuck with me the most was a bit of council given by a tutor near the end of the book.

“In some instances, the truth depends on who’s telling the story . . . on whose point of view you’re hearing.”

To me, that’s something very important to remember and one of the things I admire about Laurie’s account. All perspectives are given and it becomes very clear that everyone has feelings, beliefs, desires for the future that need to be respected even when we don’t necessarily agree.

Thank goodness for character lists, though. As with most historical fiction, there are usually more than a few players and it was difficult for my tiny brain to keep them all straight, as well as who was real and who was fictional until I really got into the story. I liked that Laurie put this info right up front where I could easily refer to it as I read. Of all the characters presented, I grew most attached to Hannah. She grabbed my heart and I could most clearly understand her role in the book and those events in history that many women would have faced.

Dawn’s Early Light is the third and final installment of the Free Men and Dreamers series but it stands very well on its own if you haven’t read the first two books. Fair warning, though: once you become involved with the characters, you will want to go back and catch the rest of their story.

During her blog tour to introduce Dawn’s Early Light, L.C. Lewis is giving away several different prizes to those who comment on the reviews and interviews. Not only autographed copies of Dawn’s Early Light, but also a unique, handcrafted silver "Liberty" necklace made by Sterling Obsessions. So, check all the sites and comment often! The names will be gathered on December 18th for the drawing.

You can also read the first three chapters at http://www.laurielclewis.com/books.html

1 comment:

Laurie LC Lewis said...

Alison, thanks for the great review. If you weren't already my friend, I would write and ask you to be my pen pal! I especially love your disclaimer over on the side, and I'm so delighted you enjoyed the book!