January 10, 2014
Book Review: Vanguard of Hope (Sapphire Brigade #1) by Kathy Steinemann
Vanguard of Hope: Sapphire Brigade Book 1 by Kathy Steinemann
My rating: 3 of 5 stars :star :star :star
Actual Rating: 3.5 stars
A copy of this book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Vanguard of Hope is a historical fiction novel written in diary format. Although I was a bit skeptical (it's not often pulled off well); I was ultimately incredibly pleased with the format. It was easy to read and it flowed really well.
I did feel like I was in the time period; with slavery being abolished yet still very much a part of things. Women were fighting for their rights to work and vote; and gaining more independence. However, I had a huge problem with the fact that it was supposed to be taking place in the US south. I felt like it was taking place in England for huge parts of the novel. In fact, I completely forgot it took place in Ameirca until the end when they had to mention a state -- I was like, uh...what? Not good. Not good at all. I think it had to do with the language (very British) and the mannerisms like having tea and such.
The ending felt unfinished. I don't know how the series will continue with a different set of characters. Not sure if I'm excited to read the sequel. I really love Hope. I felt for her and she was extremely real. She was a strong woman who was sexually abused by her father as a child. She held it all in and didn't tell anyone. Then, it started to really negatively affect her and once she opened up she began to heal. It was really inspiring.
I was a bit worried that due to the subject matter I'd get super emotional or it would be too hard to read. This wasn't an issue at all. It was written so well; it didn't gloss over anything, but it was realistic and just the right amount of description. Sometimes this sort of subject matter goes from realistic to just...lewd. Shock value type writing. This was so wonderfully done where it wasn't any more disturbing that that sort of subject matter will ultimately always be. I felt it was realistic and also it wasn't overly depressing. The novel had my spirits up, in fact. I was inspired and in love with the characters.
Overall I was super impressed by the scope of this novel. Although I had problems with the setting and language (not fitting the location) as well as the ending, I still really enjoyed this book. I am not sure if I would continue the series (Due to the difference in the characters for the sequel), but I'd definitely recommend this book to many people.
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(aka Dee) has loved reading for as long as she can remember. She loves many things: fantasy novels, young adult fiction, her cat, painting, and horror films from the 70s. Diamond is a grad student at UCLA. She's pursuing a Master's in Library and Information Science.