Escape From Elysian Fields

An Old West adventure

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
183 Pages
Reviewed on 09/28/2021
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite

Escape From Elysian Fields: An Old West Adventure by C. Forrest Lundin is an intriguing work of historical fiction set in the days of the old west. Set just after the Civil War, this story centers on two brothers on opposite sides, Izzy for the North and Buster for the South. There is also a woman in the mix: a pretty, mixed-race slave named Lace. For the brothers, the war hasn't ended yet. Lace is hoping she'll see Izzy again, but Buster may show up ahead of him, and if he does, she'll have to go into hiding in the underground railroad, in a secret room. If Buster finds her, he could follow through with the threats he's made. Izzy is one day ahead of Buster, so really, this is a race to see which brother shows up first. Along the way comes tragic loss. Which brother will get to Lace first? And what will Buster do if he finds that Lace has fled with his brother Izzy?

This kind of western hearkens back to the classics: a straight, simple but powerful story full of conflict, interesting characters, suspense, and unexpected turns. Yes, there is some violence, but this is a western, after all. The racial slurs are unsettling, so trigger warnings apply. Lundin writes with an accomplished, eager hand, a natural storyteller that I imagine thrives on spinning western tales. The plot gallops along at a steady pace, the dialogue is gritty and fresh, and you'll learn a lot about daily life in the old west, including relations with the Cherokee Nation and slavery. In addition, you are treated to a sneak preview of another book by the author in the end. If you're a Louis L'Amour or Zane Gray fan, you will love Escape From Elysian Fields: An Old West Adventure by C. Forrest Lundin.

Pikasho Deka

Escape From Elysian Fields by C. Forrest Lundin is a western drama novel set in the aftermath of the American Civil War. After the Union defeats the Southern rebels, Izzy MacCullough is desperate to reach home before his older brother Buster throws a fit and takes their half-sister Lace for himself. However, Izzy arrives as a witness to a scene of destruction as his father has burned down the house and killed himself, his mother, and their maid Satin in the act. Izzy tracks down Lace, and after confirming Doc Allen to be his biological father, proceeds to have a romantic relationship with Lace. As raiders pillage the Elysian fields, Izzy sets off for California with Lace, Doc Allen, and the freed slaves. But his brother Buster is soon on his heels alongside a dangerous woman named Adisla.

Author C. Forrest Lundin's enthralling western drama is bound to appeal to lovers of historical fiction. This is slow-burn storytelling at its finest. Due to the character-driven narrative style, the plot moves deliberately slowly, taking a while to set things in motion. The characters are salt of the earth people who are easy to relate to. Escape From Elysian Fields deftly explores the ways life for freed slaves was still a constant battle for survival even after the end of the Civil War. It also examines how the descendants of Cherokee and White people were considered lower-class citizens in 19th century America. If you're interested in westerns or historical fiction, this is the book for you.

Viga Boland

After fighting for the bluecoats in the Civil War, the protagonist, Izzy, is desperate to get to his home in the Elysian Fields before his redcoat brother, Buster. There he hopes to find his family, tell them they are finally free, and reunite with the woman he loves, Lace. But he arrives to find his homestead burned to the ground, his family dead, and Lace in hiding from his brother, Buster, who is only a day behind him and is likely to kill him and claim Lace for himself. No brotherly love, nor paradise here! Izzy hopes to take Lace (and whoever else of his family is willing to go) to California. Does Izzy succeed? Will Lace and others agree to go with him? Or will Buster beat him home? With Izzy and Lace, readers face hardship, hunger, and danger as they seek a new paradise.

Occasionally, when you select a book from a genre you don’t usually read, you surprise yourself by enjoying it. That’s what happened to me when I decided to read the Old West adventure Escape From Elysian Fields by C. Forrest Lundin. There were several aspects of Escape From Elysian Fields that caught me by surprise. The first was the names Lundin ascribed to his characters: Lace, Leather, Satin, Jim, and Dogger, just to name a few. The second was the terms of endearment that Izzy used when speaking with Lace: so charming in an old-fashioned way. The third was what I learned about the beliefs and relationships between the Cherokee nation and black slaves. It was quite an insight. I’ve always believed a good book should not only entertain but enlighten. C. Forrest Lundin has done both by using plenty of revealing and emotional dialogue between his colorful characters. An interesting and different read.