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Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite
Peace in the Valley: A Quest for Redemption in the Old West by John Eric Vining is a gripping historical novel that reflects powerful elements of the Civil War. The reader follows the journey of Mark Gamble, one of the best sharpshooters in the Confederate Army of Tennessee, a man feared by the enemy. In spite of his prowess in war, he feels as if darkness is taking over his life — the insatiable thirst to kill. But during the Battle of Lookout Mountain, he is mortally wounded and captured by the Union soldiers, who put him in a military facility to be nursed. During this period of solitude, he falls in love with Ruth Taylor, a Quaker nurse volunteering in the hospital, and everything changes. The reader will follow this couple as they face challenges, and move to the tribe where Ruth wants to serve as a missionary. When the opportunity presents itself for redemption, will Mark be able to make the best of it?
I loved the focused and balanced writing, the excellent prose, and the strong setting. Readers are immediately transported into an era where conflict is the order of the day and, apart from the Civil War, readers will be introduced to the conflicts between the whites and the Red Indians. Character development is top-notch and readers will love following Mark, a strong character torn within himself, a man in search of redemption. The way he evolves throughout the story is beautiful. The themes of family, war, service, and religion are beautifully written into the story, and readers will also love the way the author develops conflict. I couldn’t put this book down. John Eric Vining’s Peace in the Valley: A Quest for Redemption in the Old West is a well-crafted story that offers great entertainment to readers. Masterfully plotted and brilliantly accomplished.