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5 stars for Fireflies at Dusk by Mike Torreano #historicalfiction #civilwar #bookreview



Title: Fireflies at Dusk

Author: Mike Torreano

Genre: Historical Fiction


Book Blurb:


A young man grows up in a pacifist family in 1850s Ohio. When his new friend is dragged away from his Quaker meeting house by slavers, no one moves to stop them. Furious and disillusioned, Jonathan turns his back on everything he’s known as he leaves for college.

When the Civil War breaks out, he joins the Union Army, making his rupture with everyone who ever loved him complete. Now, the violence of war strips away his all-too-abundant pride and self-righteousness. Worse, he leads men who would just as soon see him dead.

Will he be able, or even try to regain his self-respect, his family, faith, and childhood sweetheart in the searing cauldron of war—or has he drifted too far away?


My Review:


Having intensively studied the US Civil War in college, I am extremely familiar with this book's time period. Having read both of Longacre's impressive books on Cavalry, I am intimately familiar with primary sources from that time frame. The writing and scene setting in this book is exemplary. You would be hard pressed to realize this is fictional. The life experiences of Jonathan are very true to life.


The character development is first rate. Every character adds an indelible strength to the overall story. The changing world surrounding Jonathan is further deepened with the well-defined characters who are all about. The author has a gift for scene depiction. Each scene is so vividly portrayed, the reader can easily visualize the location of what is going on.


People unfamiliar with the early difficulties in supplying the Union armies may be shocked by the accurate historical detail in this book. It took a very long time for the Union to sort out the supply problems be it food, weapons or horses. This book very accurately portrays what was a huge problem in the early days of the Civil War.


The historical accuracy of this writing is to be commended. I have personally read more than three dozen books on the Civil War and this book is about as accurate as fiction can be.


More praise for the historical accuracy. The battlefield of the Civil War was loud and chaotic and smoky and dangerous. This is so perfectly captured here in this book. If you have no knowledge of the military history of the Civil War, then this book will open your eyes. Brilliantly done.

An excellently written book that will appeal to the large audience of historical fiction fans. If you want historical accuracy in your fiction, this is for you. Highly recommended.


My Rating: 5 stars


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Author Biography:


Mike Torreano is an award-winning author with a military background and a particular interest in American history and the Old West.

His debut western mystery, The Reckoning, set in South Park, Colorado in 1868, was released in 2016 by The Wild Rose Press. The sequel, The Renewal, also in South Park, 1872, was released in 2018, with a third western mystery, A Score To Settle, set in New Mexico Territory in 1870 released October 2020. White Sands Gold is his latest western mystery, also set in New Mexico Territory, 1890 and released by Wild Rose in September 2022. He has a coming-of-age historical novel releasing November 2023, Fireflies At Dusk, set during the Civil War era. His short story, The Trade, a tale of the Yukon Gold Rush, was his first published work in 2014.

Mike’s written for magazines and newspapers for many years. An experienced editor, he’s taught English and Journalism at both the United States Air Force Academy and the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.

He’s a member of the Historical Novel Society, Pikes Peak Writers, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, Western Writers of America and several other writing groups. Recently, he appeared on LA Talk Radio’s Rendezvous With A Writer, and the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ podcast.

His novels have received the Firebird Book Award for western fiction, American Writing Award finalist for mystery/suspense, a gold award for fiction from Literary Titan and a finalist award from the New Mexico Book Co-Op.

He brings his readers back in time with him as he recreates life in mid-to-late nineteenth century America. He and his wife, Anne, live in Colorado Springs.


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Reviewed by: Mr. N

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