Tuesday, March 29, 2011

One Was A Soldier


 I've just read an amazing book.  Julia Spencer-Fleming's One Was a Soldier is one of the most enthralling novels I've read in quite some time. And as most of you know, I perused about five hundred mysteries last year.

Spencer-Fleming's award-winning series, set in a small town in New York state tells the story of the tangled relationship between  Clare Fergusson, an Episcopal priest, and Russ Van Alstyne, the town's police chief.  One Was a Soldier, though the seventh in the series, could be a standalone, so seamlessly does Spencer-Fleming weave in the back story. 

I was particularly interested in this book because it deals with the long awaited marriage of the two main characters -- the same premise  as in my forthcoming Under the Skin.  It seems as though everything is set for happily ever after and then . . . complications ensue.

Yes, there's a mystery -- a well-plotted conundrum with a satisfying resolution -- but this book is so much more than a simple whodunnit. It's an finely rendered examination of the heart-breaking and timely topic of America's wounded warriors -- the men and women who have been and are still returning from active service, broken in body, mind, and spirit but afraid to ask for help.

And it's the deeply moving and quite passionate story of the love between Russ and Clare -- two flawed but ultimately honorable human beings.  And that's what kept me reading -- stopping only for dinner and abandoning all other intentions till I got to the end. 

Can you tell I love this book? Such real and likable characters, such wonderful, sensitive, intelligent writing! Highly, highly recommended.  

(See below on ordering a free ebook with an excerpt containing a surprisingly hot scene between a priest and a police chief in a rapidly moving vehicle.)

(You don't own an ebook reader? You can go to Amazon and download a free Kindle for your computer.)

One Was a Soldier is so good that I would suggest starting with it rather than going back and reading the series from the beginning. I suspect however, after reading it, you'll want more and be eager to know how it all began ...

The book's not on sale till April 12, though it's available for preorder now.  I asked Julia for an advance copy - and she has offered to send advance copies to 2  winners of  a drawing here on my blog. 

So if you'd like to be entered, just say so when you comment -- or send me an email (vicki_laneATmtnareaDOTnet).  I'll wait a few days before drawing two names. Check back on  April 3.  If you're a winner, I'll need your snail mail address.

And the winners are....Mamabug and Shirley! (Sounds like a sitcom.)  I'll be in touch!

If you're not a winner of this little drawing, there are some consolations below.

There is a 2.99 e -book of In The Bleak Midwinter (book 1 in the series) available.

There is a FREE e-book of excerpts, extra content and letters from the war zone, available at Amazon, B&N and Sony.  (This is where the hot scene in the truck is!)

And there's more about the books and the author at www.juliaspencerfleming.com.

Really, I think that a lot of you will thank me for this introduction, if you didn't already know this series.





38 comments:

Victoria said...

This book sounds like a really good read, thanks for recommending it to us, Vicki.

That picture of the daffodil is just gorgeous!

Brian Miller said...

wow. high praise...definitely going on the reading list...

Marilyn said...

This is a book I would to read and I would certainly like to go in the draw for one of the books. Your review is wonderful and your photos very beautiful.

Just Jane said...

Have been waiting and waiting for One Was a Soldier to be published. Please put me in the pot for the drawing. And choose me!

Pat in east TN said...

I always like when you recommend books Vicki ... I'm off to Amazon now to pre-order.

Merisi said...

Another book on my wish list, thank you, Vicki!

The daffodil image is gorgeous,
what a beautiful specimen,
captured by a master!


(I'd love to be part of the drawing, I would give you a US address should I be so lucky to win.)

Nancy M. said...

Definitely sounds like a wonderful book - please put my name in the pot!!!

Alan Burnett said...

Tried to get the Kindle download but unfortunately it is not available to customers from the UK (meanies). Thus enter me into your free raffle and wish me luck.

Sally said...

I'll pre-order for my Kindle.

In the meantime, I've ordered the first book of the series.

Always looking for good mystery writers. I appreciate your recommendation. Thank you!

Jean Baardsen said...

That daffodil is stunning! Is that the image "as is" or did you do some photo editing? Even in Photoshop, I'd have a hard time getting anything that lovely! Please put me in for the book drawing. I have four books from a series on order now. (Don't know what possessed me, since I'm hearing about this woman - Jacqueline Winspear - for the first time.) Do you know her work?

KarenB said...

I have thoroughly enjoyed the other books in this series and was looking forward to this one, even before your glowing praise. Now I want to read it even more! I met Julia Spencer-Fleming at my first Bouchercon in Baltimore and she is a lovely and charming lady.

Elizabeth said...

I was happy to hear about another book by Julia Spencer-Fleming. I have enjoyed reading her series, and on your recommendation, can't wait to get my hands on this one. I would love to be entered into the drawing.

Louise said...

It sounds like a wonderful series. Thanks for bringing it to our attention. And, yes, of course I would like to be included in the drawing.

Mama-Bug said...

That sounds like a very good read; count me in Vicki. Beautiful daffodil too!

Kaye Barley said...

Oh Oh - I'd love to be a part of this drawing, Vicki. Thank you!

Helen T said...

I love Julia Spencer-Fleming and am so looking forward to the new one. I downloaded the brief letters and excerpt to my phone. This will be a another great read and her series is excellent, every one. (please don't enter me in the drawing. I'm still so thrilled with my fairy crosses.)

Tammy said...

Hi Vicki,
I have read some of her earlier books, but in between waiting for the next one, I somehow got out of the loop and haven't read on in the series. Thanks for reminding me of these books. Definitely put my name 'in the pot' for the drawing!
Tammy

Liz said...

I always trust a good review from you, Vicki! Please put my name in the hat!

Polly said...

I've read the first couple of the series, and looking forward to reading this one on the strength of your review. Put my name in too.

Carol M said...

I haven't read any of the books in this series. I'd love to start with this one! Thank you for a chance to win a copy of it!
mittens0831 at aol dot com

firedog said...

I would love to be entered in your drawing. Currently enjoying "In the Bleak Midwinter."

Prentiss Garner said...

I love Julia Spencer-Flemings's books. Hope I win!!

Prentiss Garner
prentissg@gmail.com

Brenda said...

Me Me Me!!! Pick me! I want to be entered! (And, FYI - I finally got an audio recording of Room from the library and am about halfway through. I actually had to TURN IT OFF on the way to work this morning because I thought I was going to implode from suspense. Whew. I'm now glad I couldn't find a paper copy - the recording is stunning, and the little boy narrator is terrific!

Vicki Lane said...

Thanks for all the enthusiasm! You all are going to love this book.

Re daffodil -- no Photoshop, just my NikonD90 doing its closeup thing. It's a weird old-timey daff that makes me think of scrambled eggs.

Brenda -- thanks for the tip on an audio version of ROOM -- I'm ready to read it again and will give that a listen. What's the narrator's name?

shirley said...

Please include me in the drawing. The book sounds great. Like others, I read the first couple and then lost track. So many books ...

boots9k at wowway dot com

Vicki Lane said...

Ooops! It's been pointed out to me that the series is set in New York state -- not Maine. Mea culpa -- the author lives in Maine.

Carol-Lynn Rossel said...

Please put me in the drawing for Julia's book. I've enjoyed her books so far and look forward to the new one.

Harvey said...

Really looking forward to this one. Yes I'd love to win one :)

Harvey said...

Really looking forward to this. Have enjoyed all previous in series. Julia is a fellow Mainer.

Yes, I'd love to win one. Please count me in.

Thanks.

Cathy said...

Please enter me in the drawing. It's a wonderful series!

B J Simon said...

I am waiting patiently for Julia Spencer-Fleming's next book! What other choice do I have, I ask you. Please enter my name in the drawing.

Friko said...

Thank you for this glowing review; how can I not want to read the story?
I do love it when I can care about the characters; so many are one-dimensional, cardboardy and pointless.

Kari Wainwright said...

"One Was a Soldier" sounds like a compelling read and I'd love to win a copy.

gkw9000 at gmail.com

jenny milchman said...

I have been hearing such great things about Ms. Spencer-Fleming's series for so long. Thanks for the excellent post reminding me!

pennyt said...

I've read all the other books in this series and really enjoyed them. I can't wait to read this one. Please put my name in the hat!! Thank you.

Deanna said...

The jonquil photo is beautiful!

The book and series sounds very interesting. I will be checking it out and would love to be entered in the drawing.

Fay said...

Wow Vicki, sounds like you really like this book! Please add my name to the drawing. If I don't win I'll definitely be in line to buy it. Thanks for the heads up on such a great read.

Vicki Lane said...

Mamabug and Shirley are the lucky winners! I'll be in touch with them.