Monday 1 February 2021

A Discovering Diamonds Review of The Picolata Road by James R. Glover

(See also our Cover Critique Corner slot by graphics designers Cathy Helms and Tamian wood here)


"A former Texas Ranger hunts a ruthless killer in the chaos and treachery of Florida during the Civil War. This is the story of Jessie Youngblood, a former Texas Ranger who settles near St. Augustine shortly before the Civil War. Orphaned by the Comanches as a young child and raised on the Texas frontier by his aunt and uncle, he leaves Texas in search of a new home. After arriving in St. Augustine, Jessie uses his inheritance to buy a small farm near the old city. While he learns about this new frontier, he develops a friendship with the determined and beautiful neighbor, Isabel Cox. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Jessie finds himself swept into the savagery that he thought he left behind in Texas. He soon discovers that violence and brutality are not unique to the Comancheria. To find a group of ruthless murderers, he reverts to the man the Comanches called Yellow Snake and wages his own war within a war. He tirelessly hunts Lucas Jackson while surviving the battle of Olustee. Only his gregarious friend and partner, Silas Ward, keeps Jessie from becoming the self-destructive killer he could be. Meanwhile, Isabel struggles as her world collapses. Raised as an independent, privileged woman, Isabel loses everything except her faith and a love for her ancestral home."

As a Brit, who has mostly travelled through the pages of novels, I know very, very little of the history of Florida or Texas and the American Civil War, beyond various Western TV series and movies – Clint Eastward, John Wayne, Bonanza, The High Chaparral... all of which, I am well aware, are not history.

When asked to read this particular title I was a little wary as I wasn’t sure it would ‘be my thing’ – which only goes to show that sometimes it is rewarding to step outside of your comfort zone.

There is a host of characters in this novel; all were engaging, some were likeable, some were not, some I wasn’t sure about (which was the author’s intention, of course.) Some, I confess, I became a little confused over as I found it hard to remember them all. To make up for this, the story line swept me along with Jessie Youngblood, leaving me wanting to know what would happen next. Emotionally I was stirred by the characters and their stories, although I cannot say how accurate (or not) the historical details are – they certainly had the feeling of accuracy.

Possibly, the book will appeal more to those who enjoy westerns and the American Civil War period, or are interested in the history of Florida and Texas, it is not a romance ideal for Jane Austenesque readers – snakes, cowboys, Indians, dirt, hardship, never knowing if you are going to be alive at the end of the day, let alone next week is the theme for The Picolata Road, not elegant carriages, graceful balls or gentle romance, which is why I found this a refreshing, and exciting read!

Ideal TV or movie content, perhaps?

Reviewed for Discovering Diamonds 

© Anne Holt
 e-version reviewed

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