Reviews for Shades of Gray are really starting to come in now (at last), and they are all very complimentary.

I especially enjoyed Kristen Pace’s of, who says, “the intense sorrow, frustration, and ultimately love, seem to transcend the pages to settle in the very marrow of the reader’s bones. Jessica James has produced a tremendous and wonderful saga about love, loyalty and honor for which she must lauded.”

Thank you, Kristen, for a wonderful review that I feel to the marrow of my bones!

The long-awaited review from the Historical Novel Society is also out. It is one of the few reviews that comments on the role the media plays in distorting history.

“Shades of Gray offers a more balanced and nuanced explanation of the Confederate cause that transcends the overly simplified view presented by today’s mass media.”

She later says, “The novel will appeal to romance readers and Civil War buffs, especially those sympathetic to the Southern side.”

I take the comment, “those sympathetic to the Southern side” as a true compliment as well, because I worked hard to show the choices and sacrifices made by those who joined the Confederacy. The reviewer was also kind enough to point out the efforts I took to make Shades of Gray read like a 19th-century novel, saying, “The style of writing reflects the Civil War era as much as the content of the story.”

Wow! That’s really nice, and means a lot to an author who took great pains to work and re-work the dialogue.

The reviewer concludes, “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.”

I hope others agree with the opinions of these reviewers. I’d love to hear from you if you’ve read Shades. You can email me at writefromthepast (at)


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