Beyond the Storm

Fiction - Western
264 Pages
Reviewed on 04/29/2015
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

After taking early retirement, I set out to try and do something I had always wanted to do - write a book. It turned out to be both an enjoyable and rewarding experience. I learned much in the process of writing and publishing and look forward to doing it again. I am now back to work with a local non-profit whose mission is to offer opportunities for individuals with disabilities. My wife Theresa and I live on a small farm on the outskirts of Panther (you won't find that on many maps), Kentucky.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Kathryn Bennett for Readers' Favorite

Beyond the Storm by Rodney Bartlett introduces us to Shade McDonalds who, in 1867, is ready for a chance. The Civil War has opened Shade's eyes to things that no one should have to see, and now he is ready to marry a good woman, settle in Kentucky, and have children. The downside to his plan is that there is no woman on the horizon, but he has his guns and a horse named Rex. Life settles down on the farm until a looming threat appears and he must save everything he loves and himself.

I love a good historical and this is a great one. Shade is an interesting character to dig into and he gives off a very 'old West' feeling, right down his dear strawberry roan Rex. You have to love a good cowboy! The book is well written and it flows so easily you can get lost in the story. You turn each page, hungrily devouring the perfect plot or at least I did! Sometimes you just want to get lost in a story and I truly did with this one - a very big congrats to Rodney Bartlett for that. You can also tell that this has been well researched, there are some good details that are perfect for the period. This may be the first work I have read by this author, but it won't be the last. I am looking forward to the next read and to see what will happen with Shade. Two thumbs way up and I highly recommend anyone that loves a good Western to check this book out.

Dave Eisenstark

In Rodney Barlett's Beyond the Storm, Kentuckian Shade MacDonald rides to his new home in Texas after the Civil War. He joins his father, Tom, and younger brother, Rainn, all learning a new trade, raising cattle. But they soon run afoul of the drunken town bully and wealthy land-owner, Cody Wilcox, and his men, who harass a couple of young farm sisters. Shade rescues the women and falls hard for the older one, Julia. Meanwhile Wilcox, holding a grudge, schemes to steal a large payment the MacDonalds have coming for their cattle. He engages a couple of poker bums (one a crack sharpshooter) to ambush Rainn MacDonald and steal the money. Things go bad, Rainn gets shot, and Shade has to track the culprits, leaving Cody Wilcox to suffer his own brand of justice.

Beyond the Storm is a fun, easy read, with good characters doing their best. It isn't a flurry of non-stop action, and the plot is about as straightforward as it gets, but if you like your fiction quiet and easy-going, this effort by Rodney Bartlett pays off nicely. The history seems authentic and the atmosphere well-drawn. A good book for younger readers —family entertainment all the way. Shade and the rest of his family are terrific characters, and a rough cowhand named Quentin Dalhart helps fill out the cast nicely, as do the strong, pioneer women we meet along the way. Beyond the Storm definitely has the makings of a series, and I'd love to find out what happens next.

Bil Howard

For Shade McDonald, starting over after the Civil War wasn't easy, but at least he was able to be with his younger brother and father. In Beyond the Storm, Rodney Bartlett takes the reader on a journey into post Civil War East Texas, a ranch, families and a community trying to carve out a living in a rough land. Hardened by the war, Shade is beginning to feel like he can settle down and get stuck into the hard, but satisfying work in the community. But there is trouble that threatens to drag the McDonalds and the Anderson ranch into it. A high-minded rancher, with his sights set on being the bull of the woods around Pelham, has already started trouble and Shade, his brother and the others must keep a wary eye open in case it comes their way. It isn't all trouble, however, as Shade meets a rancher's daughter named Julia and staying on around Pelham begins to take on an even more permanent prospect. When his brother Rainn is shot and left for dead alongside the trail to the ranch, Shade sees no other alternative but to head out on the trail for those responsible, hoping that he'll be able to return home unscathed and ready to settle down. That might not be as easy as it seems at first, but Shade won't rest until justice is served.

Beyond the Storm by Rodney Bartlett is a story worth getting into. Though it takes a bit of time to build, the climax that it reaches once it gets started is worth the build up. The reader is swept into the emotions and thoughts of the characters and it is easy to pick out those that you'd want to ride along with and those that you'd just as soon stay away from. The action and romance elements fit well into a solid Western plot, with a man finding his way in the world and standing on the side of right. Beyond the Storm is a good Western with plenty of intrigue and action to keep the reader turning pages.