Book Review: Blood Red Roses by Russell James

21562717Title: Blood Red Roses

Author: Russell James

Genre: Ghost Stories, Horror, Dark Fiction, Historical Fiction

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

“The spirits of the dead cry for justice. ”

In the waning days of the Civil War, orphaned teen Jebediah Abernathy has been indentured to one of the most notorious plantations in Mississippi, Beechwood. Ramses, the sadistic overseer, rules completely, unchecked by owners driven mad by the loss of their only son. Cruelty and torture are commonplace. And slave boys are mysteriously vanishing. But Jebediah is not completely alone. The ghost of his father and an escaped slave sorceress will lead him to the horrific truth about the disappearances a knowledge that will probably cost him his life. “

Blood Red Roses is an entertaining ghost story set during the Civil War era. Jebediah Abernathy is left an orphan by the war, and then his family sells him to the owners of the Beechwood plantation, where he’s to work as a stable boy. Jebediah only knows little about horses, but he does the best he can. Treatment for slaves is tough, and even though he’s not a slave as such, that doesn’t seem to warrant a better treatment either. Ramses, the sadistic overseer, likes to crack the whip around at every chance he gets. And with the owners still blinded by the loss of their son during the war, Ramses’ rule is unchallenged.

Then Jebediah discovers that men have gone missing from the plantation. They’re slaves, so their disappearance goes mostly unnoticed except by the other slaves. Jebediah grows worried that one day he might be next, especially when he finds out a secret connected to the plantation. With the aid of an escape sorceress and the ghost of his father, Jebediah might stand a chance against the dark powers at work.

The author doesn’t shy away from making the characters go through horrible ordeals. A lot of emphasis is put on the harsh treatment of slaves, and on the way tragedy can cripple people and change them forever. The addition of ghosts and a sorceress was a nice though. Overall, the book is an enjoyable read, and the setting worked well. Jebediah is a solemn, grief-struck character, yet he’s also a fighter, and it’s easy to root for him.

 

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