Griswoldville is almost a year old! To celebrate in the month leading up to the anniversary of its publication, here is a bit more of what folks are saying about the novel. More reader reviews of Griswoldville have been rolling in, both on Goodreads and Amazon, where it’s available in paperback and Kindle formats. You can read complete reviews here and here respectively. Here are a few samples, along with a personal note about the feedback that has meant the most to me.
Reader reviews from around the internet
First, I am deeply grateful for a good review from Sam Burnham, curator of All the Biscuits in Georgia, a website and blog dedicated to the best our mutual homestate has to offer. Reviewing Griswoldville, Sam calls it “a coming of age tale, a multi-generational drama, a war novel, and a work of historical fiction” that
drop[s] you into a country church, along a dirt road, around the fire at story time. You get the sights, the sounds, the smells. You find yourself in Georgia in the mid-19th century. It’s hard to come across a narrative that is so historically accurate while maintaining that personality, that soul. Griswoldville has both.
Sam also writes that Griswoldville “is a book you really should read.” You can read the whole ABG review here.
On Goodreads, Jacob writes that “Griswoldville is no typical Civil War story. The novel . . . reveals how even the often forgotten episodes of the War (like the battle of Griswoldville) forever changed the lives of soldiers like Georgie.”
Also on Goodreads, Joshua, a Macon native who knows the region in which the climactic action takes place, calls Griswoldville a “phenomenal read”:
Read cover to cover in 4 days! Well written and researched for a novel, and places the reader in a position not often covered . . . the home front of rural Georgia. The author . . . highlights the struggles of home life while most of the Southern men were away defending their loved ones. . . . Artfully describes the combat of the era, but from a human perspective rather than a historian or tactician’s view. As a native of Macon, Georgia, just southwest of Griswoldville, . . . it was obvious the author took the time to properly research the area and history, and it makes a Maconite proud.
Goodreads reviewer Sarah writes that:
This novel works on several levels. First, as a coming-of-age novel, Griswoldville captures the passage from boy to man. The backdrop of the war and then Reconstruction works splendidly for Georgie’s transformation. Second, the [toll] of a war on the people involved seemed heartbreaking. Not having been in a war myself, I can only imagine the pain and sorrow that must follow those who take up arms. The novel helped me imagine that burden. Finally, the beautiful family ties that Georgie describes make me want to love on my own family. In some ways, this novel is a tribute to every strong mother, father, or, in the case of Georgie, grandfather. Fate, Georgie’s grandfather, is an unforgettable character.
And speaking of Lafayette “Fate” Eschenbach, Amazon reviewer Jacob Johnson writes that:
Fate reminds me a lot of my own grandfather, and as he is going through a tough time of his own I was able to use Fate’s storyline as a coping mechanism. I found a lot of similarities between Fate and my own grandfather, and that hit me more than I was expecting. . . . Seeing how a grandson looked up to his grandfather reminded me a lot of how I look up to my grandfather. The other areas of this book are great as well. The detail that goes into the battles, the connections with cousins and friends in the town, and even a little bit of Georgie’s years after the war as he ages makes this novel a great read for anyone looking to immediately be drawn in. I highly recommend this book.
He also writes that Griswoldville is “an excellent read not only for me as an Education/History major, but just for anyone who enjoys quality literature.” He recommends it “to anyone wanting to read a little bit about one of the lost battles of the Civil War,” and Joshua concludes his review by recommending the book “to ANYONE with a passion for this time period, and especially the local and state history of Georgia.”
A personal note
I’m thankful to have written Griswoldville and especially thankful to share it with such readers. The feedback I’ve gotten in the last year has been deeply gratifying for a couple of reasons.
First, readers have seen in Griswoldville what I most hoped they would—a story about memory, love of home and family, coming of age and taking on responsibility, living with loss and experiencing redemption. Second, people in both online reviews and speaking to me personally have told me how much the relationships in the novel meant to them, especially that between Georgie and Fate, with a few describing their relationships with their own grandfathers in similar terms. One told me that Griswoldville has helped him cope with his grandfather’s physical decline and approaching death. Others have told me about stories about their own grandfathers and the ways they filled the roles played by Fate in my book.
Similarly, I’ve been told by one reader, a South Carolina native with deep roots in Georgia, that his wife, a native of upstate New York, read the book and told him that she suddenly understood him and what made him tick as a man raised in the South. If Griswoldville is also a plea for understanding our ancestors, this is one of the most profoundly moving bits of feedback I’ve received.
It’s this kind of feedback—the personal kind, where I’ve struck on something that resonated with people and turned their minds toward the men who helped raise and teach them and the place and culture that shaped them—that has meant the most to me. I’m grateful to y’all for sharing your responses with me.
Thanks as always for reading! If you haven’t read Griswoldville, please do, and leave an honest review so that the word can continue to spread. I look forward to more and will update y’all as feedback comes my way.