Sometimes I slip up and agree to review book two in a series. With A Note Yet Unsung, I managed to pick a book that stood on its own, despite references to the previous book in the series. This time, though, was a different story.
The book is Too Deep for Words by Andrea Boeshaar, and it is the second installment in the Shenandoah Valley Saga. As I began to read, I picked up hints very quickly that the back story being referenced was not just flashbacks or gap filling. It was references to a fleshed out story – one entitled A Thousand Shall Fall. Allow me to start my review of Too Deep for Words by encouraging you to go ahead and read A Thousand Shall Fall. No, I have not read it yet. But, if book two is any indication of the flow of the series, I can assure you that book one will be good, too!
Set in the Civil War, the Shenandoah Valley Saga series delves into both sides of the conflict. Readers get to know Union and Confederate characters, with a mixture of good and bad character on both sides of the line. In fact, the balance is one thing that drew me into this story. Andrea Boeshaar beautifully handles delving into the strong convictions held by good, godly men from both the North and the South. In Too Deep for Words, newly married Carrie Ann Collier is devastated to learn that her husband, US Colonel Peyton Collier, is missing and presumed dead. But Carrie refuses to believe the latter, and she will not rest until either he returns safely or she receives conclusive evidence of his death. Whether strong or wavering, this hope stands as the driving force behind her interactions, her choices, and her actions throughout the novel.
Too Deep for Words is well researched, intertwining historic characters and events with the fictional Colliers, Carrie’s sister Margaret, and their companions. Interspersed throughout the novel are news clips and journal entries tying war events into the flow of the story. And, the story truly flows. Little surprise events throughout the story keep it from falling into predictable patterns, and there are enough little loose threads to draw readers back for an upcoming book three in the series.
One thing I noticed in reading Too Deep for Words, though, was my lack of connection with the characters. I am typically drawn to a book by the characters more than the plot, and if I don’t connect with the characters, I don’t usually enjoy the book. This time, though, the plot held its own quite strongly. I do wonder if that will change after I read the first book, because frequently book two in a series rests on the solid character development of its prequel. The fact that I enjoyed Too Deep for Words enough to go back and read A Thousand Shall Fall to hopefully build that connection with the characters definitely speaks volumes for Andrea Boeshaar’s storytelling ability.
Bottom line: I would recommend the Shenandoah Valley Saga series. Just don’t make the mistake I did and start in the middle!