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Posts Tagged ‘Sharon-Poppen’

After the War, Before the Peace

By Sharon Poppen

Copyright 2002 by Sharon Poppen

Published by Xlibris, paperback $22.95 ISBN10 1-4010-6545-7, eBook $9.99 ISBN10 1-4535-8286-X

After the War, Before the Peace is Sharon Poppen’s stunning debut novel set in the years following the American Civil War. With stunning characters who leap off the page and into your imagination and meticulous attention to detail Poppen’s novel is more than the story of one family ravaged by Civil War and left to rebuild their lives in a world that refused to acknowledge things like basic American civil rights, compensation for war crimes or the prosecution of war criminals.

The story of the Farrell family, whose patriarch, as well as two sons fought for the Confederate States of America and the wife and two younger sons left behind in Summerville, South Carolina will cause you to experience the gamut of human emotions from outrage and fear to love and joy. It is a tale of the triumphs, tragedies and deeply personal experiences of a family first torn apart by war, then separated by the need for retribution and revenge. It is a story of love that can overcome any obstacle, as well as love that fails to rise to the occasion and meet the challenges put before it. It is one family’s story that was echoed multiple times throughout a war ravaged country, where, in the author’s own words, “citizen fought against citizen.”

I found myself caught up in After in the War, Before the Peace within the first few pages. I read in bed sick, because I couldn’t put it down. I read it long past bedtime once I was recuperating because I just had to know what was going to happen next. When I awakened in the morning I reached for along with my morning cup of coffee. For seven days the Farrells were an integral part of my waking and sleeping moments and at no point in time was I sorry I had invested so much time and energy into their story. It left me deeply satisfied and looking forward to the sequel Lita’s Story – A Meandering Tale, which is due to be released sometime in the future by Virtual Tales Publishing who incidentally have also picked up After the War, Before the Peace for re-release sometime in 2012. For now though After the War, Before the Peace can be found through Xlibris and on Amazon’s website. Pick up a copy, it’s a wonderful novel I’m sure you’ll enjoy.

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Abby: Finding More Than Gold

By Sharon Poppen

copyright 2010 by Sharon Poppen

published by Awe-Struck Publishing, an imprint of Mundania Press, LLC

6470 Glenway Avenue #109, Cincinnati, OH 45211, ISBN 978-1-58749-731-5

Abby: Finding More Than Gold is one of those young adult books that’s a pleasure to read, regardless of your age. It follows the dreams and adventures of a young Irish girl, Abby Barron, from her home in Chicago across the Great Plains of America and finally into the Yukon, where like so many others she pursues her dream of striking it rich with a big gold find.

Abby, a girl not yet eighteen, sets her mind upon fulfilling the dream she and her cousin Liam had of going to the Yukon to find gold, along the way Abby discovers many new and exciting things about herself and the people around her. Abby will never be the innocent ‘colleen’ who set out from Chicago a short time before.

Reading Abby: Finding More Than Gold leaves you longing for a sequel to the book, but according to author Sharon Poppen a sequel, if there is one, is quite a way in the future as she is currently under contract for other projects related to her book, After the War, Before the Peace. Still, you’ll want to know more of the fate of Abby, the Finleys and the rest of the family and friends from Abby: Finding More Than Gold.

Poppen does an excellent job with characterization and voice, although there is a touch of stereotype in the characters, it is not enough to detract from the story. Generally speaking there is a rich canvas of characters, action and story that fully and logically moves from beginning to conclusion with just enough tension to keep you eagerly turning pages.

What follows is an excerpt from early in the book:

“Abby took a deep breath and entered the darkened interior. The lobby was surprisingly clean and welcoming. She walked atop a faded Oriental rug runner, passing several divans and overstuffed chairs on her way to the hotel desk. A man wearing a green-shaded visor looked up from a newspaper and smiled broadly.

“Well, well, little lady.” His leering smile heightened Abby’s anxiety.

She laid the newspaper on the desk and pointed to the ad. “May I see Mr. Finley, please?”

He waved toward a room off to his left. “I believe I saw him come back a bit ago. Try the dining room. He may be having his lunch.”

Abby looked in the direction he pointed. “Can you tell me what he looks like?”

The clerk stepped from behind the desk and motioned for her to follow him. He led her to a room just off the hotel lobby. The room was bathed in the warmth of the January sun. At four of the eight or nine small tables, covered with white tablecloths and surrounded by four chairs each, sat lone male diners. The room was bright and stark in contrast to the dark of the lobby. The white walls were devoid of decoration. Only two potted ferns brought any color into the room.

The clerk pointed to a man who was sitting with his back to her at a table by the window. “That’s him.” He returned to his desk to talk with another woman. Abby noticed that the newcomer wa an unnatural blonde and was wearing far too much make-up. Her silk, red dress was inappropriately garish for this time of afternoon, or anytime actually. Abby watched the clerk and the woman exchange suggestive smiles before the blonde headed toward the stairs.

“Seat yourself girlie.” A chubby man wearing a greasy apron barked at her as he headed toward Mr. Finley with a bowl of soup and a pile of crackers.

Abby gripped the newspaper tightly and attempted to follow the waiter, but found her feet stuck to the floor. They refused to budge. Her terrified mind admonished her to turn and go home. She took two steps back. The newspaper fell from her hand.”

Just what happens to Abby from this point on is both a wonderful and terrible story of pain, hope and new beginnings. Abby: Finding More Than Gold is a joy to read regardless of your age.

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