The Drummer's Call

Young Adult - Adventure
316 Pages
Reviewed on 04/05/2016
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

The Drummer’s Call is Patricia’s first novel. Patricia Lives in Bakersfield, California and was born in San Luis Obispo County. Patricia enjoys writing, historical and general research, genealogy and traveling.

Patricia came up with the idea for The Drummer’s Call while working on her family tree. She discovered she had ancestors who fought in the Civil War. She includes two ancestors as fictional characters in her book – James and Adrastus Tolle. James and Adrastus were enlisted with the 21st Kentucky Infantry with the Union and fought at the Battle of Stones River in Murfreesboro, TN. Patricia also learned that one of her ancestors was a Civil War drummer.

Patricia is currently working on the sequel to The Drummer’s Call. The sequel is to be set during the gold rush and will be a young adult romance novel that focuses on the difficulties of traveling the Oregon Trail by covered wagon and also a love triangle involving Toby’s parents.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers' Favorite

The Drummer’s Call by Patricia Leppo is an exploration into posterity. Josh is a California bred ninth grader, who loves video games and playing drums in his band. Recently, the loss of his father has rocked his world. Sandy, Josh’s mom, feels the burden of loneliness, grief and responsibility. Hoping the change of scenery will get them through the winter break, Sandy decides to take her kids, Evie and Josh, to visit her aunt and uncle in Tennessee. Josh is not thrilled about the idea. He would like nothing more than to have a break from his family. Upon their arrival at the Osprey Inn, all Josh sees is a run-down old building. He couldn't care less about the family history that ties him to this historical landmark. Trying to sleep, Josh is mysteriously stirred by the rat-a-tat rhythm of a drum. It is as if the drumming is calling to him. After a few days, boredom takes over and Josh begins to explore. With curiosity as his guide, Josh discovers the basement. Looking around, he notices an old drum hanging on the wall. Suddenly, the atmosphere of the forgotten room changes and Josh finds himself time warped into the Civil War era. Far away from his family, Josh is alone, “so many miles, so many years from home.” Or, maybe this is the journey of his lifetime, the pathway home. Stepping into history, Josh follows the beckoning sound of “The Drummer’s Call.”

Josh and his sidekick, Toby, are a delightful combination. They have a rare and unforgettable bond created through timeless escapades. They are much like Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, or Frodo and Sam, portraying the reality that boys will be boys, regardless of the era. The deprivation of the time and the fortitude to survive is visualized through the eyes of the young hero. The young protagonist, Josh, travels the path of his heritage; he literally descends into the world of his descendants. Josh experiences the overwhelming loss and hardship of a country divided by war. Hard work for the young and the old, issues of slavery, lack of sanitation and brother set against brother on the battlefield are revealed throughout the story.

Patricia Leppo pens a tale of adventure in The Drummer’s Call. In a story based on real life events, Leppo definitely did her homework. This fictional narrative is easy to read, making it a desirable book for her target audience. Yet, it is full of historical accuracy, taking the reader into the world of the Civil War, creating a story for all ages. Leppo depicts her time setting with sensory perception. The action flows, peaks, and ebbs smoothly. The denouement unfolds with sad and promising outcomes, giving way to a satisfying conclusion ... leaving the lasting reminder to be careful what you wish for because you never know where it will take you.

Carla Trueheart

The Drummer’s Call by Patricia Leppo follows fourteen-year-old Josh through an extraordinary adventure that will thrust the reader into the Civil War era. When Josh visits his family’s inn in Tennessee, he hears a story that rings true about a boy named Toby and his untimely death many years before. Josh, attempting to save who he believes is the ghost of Toby from this tragic death, finds himself launched backward through time, into the Civil War era. From there, the two boys bond, meet people on their way to the war, face some obstacles and unkind soldiers, and then decide to become drummer boys for the war effort. Josh and Toby become friends with many of the soldiers, assist with daily chores, and witness the death and tragedy of the Civil War.

There is so much to praise about The Drummer’s Call. The friendship between Josh and Toby is touching, and their bond breaks the barrier between the time periods. They learn things from each other along the way, and each one is an authentic representation of their particular era in American history. It was interesting to learn about the different types of drumbeats used in combat as well, and that the soldiers depended on these drumbeats and rhythms for their daily tasks and assignments. I truly enjoyed when Josh had to intervene with certain normal practices during that era that would be considered a huge no-no in today’s world, such as germs and contaminates. These little authentic touches by author Patricia Leppo helped bring the reader right into the war and learn a little something while enjoying a good book. I would recommend the book to anyone interested in the Civil War or history, or YA readers who enjoy reading about different time periods.

Milan Fila

The Drummer's Call by Patricia Leppo is a young adult adventure story suitable for historical fiction fans of all ages. Josh is fourteen and typical of that age group. His interests are his friends, the social aspects of school, and video games. But that all changes when he visits a historic inn in Tennessee and gets sent back to the past. He is stuck in the year 1862 and has no access to basic essentials like running water or electricity, let alone his cell phone or a ride in a car. But Josh is lucky enough to meet up with Toby, who turns about to be one of Josh’s relatives. Together, the boys strike out in search of Toby’s father, but the Civil War is raging all around them. With war looming, Josh and Toby have few options. Josh decides he must become involved or else he might never return home.

I loved the historical aspects of The Drummer's Call. I think young readers will really appreciate how fun and engaging this book is. They won’t even realize that they are reading something educational because it is so entertaining (and what better way to teach a child? Genius!) Leppo does a fine job with the historical content of this story and that was definitely a highlight for me. Fans of the Civil War era will really appreciate this. And young people who are not yet familiar with this era will learn a lot from reading this interesting story. Such a great way to educate a child!

Taylor Wade

Patricia Leppo wrote an interesting and unique young adult historical fiction story in The Drummer's Call. Set in 1862 around the time of the Civil War, Leppo’s story takes a modern day teenager and puts him straight into real life history. Josh is your typical teenager. Waking up in 1862 isn’t on his to do list. But that’s exactly what happens when he is in Tennessee visiting his great-aunt's historic inn. One minute he is learning about history and the next minute he is living it! When he flounders around in the past, struggling to grasp a life without modern conveniences, Josh is lucky enough to run into Toby. Toby is a relative of Josh’s and is busy searching for his father. He recruits Josh to help in his search. Together, the boys start out on an epic journey that takes them all too close to the skirmishes of the Civil War. If Josh wants to make it home in one piece, he has to learn to be extremely careful!

I really enjoyed Patricia Leppo’s historical fiction story. I think any historical fiction story has the potential to be a great learning experience for a young adult, and Leppo really hits it out of the park with The Drummer's Call. Young people especially will love the relationship between Josh and Toby and the adventures they have together with a war waging all around them. Leppo does an incredible job of creating a story rich in a well-researched setting, historical background, and fun, enjoyable characters.

Anna Smith

The Drummer's Call is Patricia Leppo’s young adult historical fiction piece that revolves around the Civil War. Josh is fourteen and interested in video games and hanging out with his friends. But that all changes when he visits an inn full of history in Tennessee. Suddenly, Josh finds himself in 1862. Now he’s living in the history that he was learning about! He has to experience first-hand life without cell phones and wireless Internet. He isn’t ready to deal with the harsher realities of life, like no running water or electricity. But Josh isn’t alone. He connects with one of his relatives, Toby, and the two set out on a mission to find Toby’s dad. But that just might put them smack dab in the middle of the Civil War, something the history books certainly didn’t prepare Josh for! But without Josh’s help, Toby isn’t sure he’ll ever find his dad. Josh doesn’t really have a choice if he wants to make sure he and Toby stay safe in their search.

I liked the time travel elements in The Drummer's Call and I think a lot of young kids will enjoy that, too. The setting is so beautifully described. Leppo has a real talent for writing in a way that puts the characters and the reader in the exact same place. I really appreciated that I could see the exact images she was describing. I felt like I was actually there. I think being that detailed will help young readers in particular relate to this story.