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Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
Kat Michels takes readers back to the US Civil War era in this engrossing historical fiction where genteel Southern belles wore massive hooped gowns and fluttered coquettish eyelids as they played the piano to a room of eligible, admiring males. The beautiful young Kady is one of these belles, the apple of her father’s eye. But it is actually her mother, Anna, whose love and admiration Kady craves. It takes a heartbreaking series of events before mother and daughter can truly find, understand and appreciate each other, something they achieve by working together as spies…and against their own Confederate husbands! In Anna’s case, the circumstances of her marriage readily explain her betrayal. In Kady’s case? Well, you will need to read the book to understand how and why she too worked against a husband she grew to love.
While these two women are at the forefront of the characters in this book, a number of the males captivate readers’ minds too. Some, like Kady’s father (Anna’s husband) are loathesome and cruel. Others, like Kady’s husband, kill for survival or when under orders and hate themselves for it. As is shown repeatedly in the book, war can make good folks do bad things. Through the thoughts, actions and dialogue of the characters, the author explores the racial tensions and often inhumane treatment black slaves endured. Readers unfamiliar with that era will find themselves repulsed and saddened by what they read.
It’s a joy, even a privilege, to find a book that is not only a wonderful read, but wonderfully written in all respects, including its grammar and style. In a Time Never Known is just such a book. This is not a short book but its characters, plot and numerous subplots keep readers turning the pages, unaware that by the time the story ends, they have read nearly 500 pages. That’s how absorbing a read this book is. Given that historical fiction has never been my first choice in books, I’m amazed at how much I enjoyed it. I sincerely hope Kat Michels has another novel in the works, but in the meantime, this one is 5 stars all the way.