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Reviews for Shades of Gray

"Shades of Gray" is a beautiful story with a timeless message. It touched my heart and soul.”
– Catherine Bennett, Amazon Reviewer

“Kept me entranced from the exciting beginning to the unexpected ending. Shades of Gray has the power to touch you deeply…”
– Beverly Rowe,

“Jessica James has created one of the most moving Civil War stories I have ever read. I had to remind myself this was fiction.”
– Debra Gaynor,

“If you want to read a book you will never forget and will think about for months after reading it, read Shades of Gray. The book took my breath away. Honestly, you will not sleep.”
– A Bookworm’s Dinner blog

“I felt like I had actually lived in the beautiful state of Virginia!”
– Betty Cox, New Book Reviews

“Well written and expertly executed… You cannot leave this book unchanged in your understanding of the souls of the Civil War.”
– Heather Froeschl, Book Review Journal

“This is not a contemporary retelling of the Civil War as much as it is a sympathetic and loving portrait. Interpersonal conflict as well as battlefield conflict make the book a page-turner and quick read.”
– Historical Novel Society

“… Exciting, intense, romantic, and thrilling from start to finish.”
– Bob O’Connor, Author of The Virginian Who Might Have Saved Lincoln

Shades of Gray is a Recommended Read for Book Sense by Heartland Reviews and received a four-star review. You can read the full review here:

“In its brief, brilliant, and tragic history, the Southern Confederacy exhibited extraordinary valor and devotion and high honor. This should never be forgotten by Americans. As long as there are writers like Jessica James, there is no danger of such forgetting.”
Clyde N. Wilson
Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History, University of South Carolina

“ I haven’t enjoyed a book so much in years! Shades of Gray is an incredible achievement and a treasure.”
– Virginia Morton, Historian/ Author of “Marching Through Culpeper”

“Re-enactors, historians, and followers of The War for Southern Independence will love this novel! It is fast moving and holds the reader's interest from cover to cover.”
– David Wright, past commander Dearing-Beauregard Camp 1813, Sons of Confederate Veterans

"Readers will find the attention to historical detail impeccable and the characters are so strongly drawn that the history does not eclipse the forward trajectory of the story."
– Foreword Magazine

“Shades of Gray” takes the reader on a whirlwind journey across the Old Dominion with a highly original and historically accurate plotline.”
– Michael Aubrecht, Pinstripe Press

“Absolutely, a beautifully written novel. I want to go back and read it again.”
– Donna Edwards, Media Specialist, Pembroke Elementary School

"... an engaging read. I didn't want to put it down at all. My eyes kept getting heavier and heavier, but I wanted to keep going. I told myself 'just one more chapter' at least half a dozen times."
- Becky Laney, Becky's Book Reviews
Read the full review here:

Civil War blogger Scott Mingus was nice enough to post this awesome review on his site at

One of the trends in tradebook publishing in the past two decades has been the strong growth of historical fiction, particularly those books aimed at women. Combining plots that strongly emphasis character development and personal interrelationships with believable historical situations and settings, these books generally sell very well and appeal to a broad audience. Some, like Cold Mountain, have become best sellers that have cut across across wide genre of readers.

The most recent addition to this segment of the book industry comes from a Gettysburg author, Jessica James. Shades of Gray: A Novel of the Civil War in Virginia (ISBN 978-0-9796000-0-5, softback, 524 pages) is a worthy addition to the line up. Published by Patriot Press, the novel concerns the growing relationship between a Virginian who is a ardent secessionist and Confederate advocate. The lead female character, by contrast, is a devoted Unionist. The interplay of their divergent beliefs, coupled with the backdrop of the growing war, is well written and sustaining. Crisp, well flowing, and with a storyline that holds your attention, James shows off her talents as a novelist, as well as revealing a solid understanding of the Civil War era.

Her powerful prose is both descriptive and evocative, vividly painting a word picture that draws the reader into the action. For example, in a passage concerning the bursting of an artillery shell that kills the heroine’s horse, James writes, “Justus, startled by the thunderous clamor, reared high in the air, throwing Andrea backward and off balance. She heard an appalling thud, a loud crack, the sound of iron consuming flesh and bone. She leaned forward, grabbing erratically for a handful of mane to regain her balance. But there was no mane to grab. The strong, well-muscled animal between her legs had dissolved. Disappeared. He was gone.” Similar strong passages dot the book.

I trust that Jessica James will continue to share her talents in future books. Her work stands out among the best of the historical novelists, and is a worthy addition to the Civil War fiction line-up. Huzzah!