Aicha Zoubair

Jessica Bell

Thursday, August 14, 2014

LOCK READY by James Rada Jr. @JimRada #AmReading #HistFic #GoodReads

This excerpt comes at the start of the book as David Windover, a former Confederate spy, ponders his future with the Fitzgerald family.
As David stood looking at all he had in the world, the hatch on the other side of the hay house opened. George Fitzgerald, Alice’s oldest child, stood in the opening looking in at him. He was a slim young man with light brown hair. He was frowning, which was a mirror image of Alice’s frown, but unlike his mother, George rarely smiled since returning from the war.
“So it is true then,” George said. “You’re leaving.”
“This makes you the man in charge,” David said. George had recently turned nineteen years old, though he seemed older now. It was more than simply him living additional year. George had seen things and experienced things that a nineteen-year-old man should not have to see and experience. The sparkle of life that Thomas still had in his eyes was missing in George’s. David hoped that the young man would find a way to get it back, but then David had never been able to after what he had seen during the waar.
“I suppose it does,” George said flatly.
The two men looked at each other without saying anything. They had both fought in the war, though on different sides. David had never gone back to the fighting after being wounded while George had lost his arm and couldn’t return. It always seemed to David that George had lost something more than his arm in the war. He had lost the ability to be happy.
“Mama’s in her cabin crying,” George said finally.
David closed his eyes and took a deep breath. What did she expect him to do? He couldn’t stay, not with the way things were between then.
“She’ll get over it,” David said.
“Maybe.” He didn’t sound so certain.
“I’m just a hand around here, George. You know that. You’re the one who’s told me it enough times.”
George snorted. “Since when did you listen to me? If you think that you’re just a hand, then maybe you should leave.”
David slapped the wall with the flat of his hand and then bowed his head.
“What? You want me to stay?”
“It’s not my decision, but I would think that after all my family has risked for you, you would want to stay,” George told him.
The Fitzgeralds could be arrested for hiding a former Confederate spy. When David had been arrested two years ago, they had risked their own freedom to free him from the Union soldiers who had arrested him.
David drew himself up straighter. “I risked my life for your family, too.”
George nodded slowly. “I guess you have me at that.” He was quiet. David thought George had said all he meant to say, but then he added, “You’re doing this because of a woman. I know that, but I’ll tell you something. If you do something for the wrong reason, you will regret it. It cost me my arm.”
George had run off to join the army about a year and half ago because he thought it would impress a girl he was sweet on. He wound up losing his arm and returning home to find out he really didn’t care what the girl thought about him anymore.
David glanced at his pack. He was ready to go. Not much need to stay around anymore. He’d said his goodbye. Anything more would just give people a reason to cry and try to convince him otherwise. He was afraid they might succeed.
David grabbed the pack and pushed open the hatch above his bed.
“So you’re just going to leave things like this?” George said.
David didn’t reply. He just walked away.
It was time to leave.


The Civil War split the United States and now it has split the Fitzgerald Family. Although George Fitzgerald has returned from the war, his sister Elizabeth Fitzgerald has chosen to remain in Washington to volunteer as a nurse. The ex-Confederate spy, David Windover, has given up on his dream of being with Alice Fitzgerald and is trying to move on with his life in Cumberland, Md. Alice and her sons continue to haul coal along the 184.5-mile-long C&O Canal. 

It is dangerous work, though, during war time because the canal runs along the Potomac River and between the North and South. Having had to endured death and loss already, Alice wonders whether remaining on the canal is worth the cost. She wants her family reunited and safe, but she can’t reconcile her feelings between David and her dead husband. Her adopted son, Tony, has his own questions that he is trying to answer. 

He wants to know who he is and if his birth mother ever loved him. As he tries to find out more about his birth mother and father, he stumbles onto a plan by Confederate sympathizers to sabotage the canal and burn dozens of canal boats. He enlists David’s help to try and disrupt the plot before it endangers his new family, but first they will have find out who is behind the plot.
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Genre – Historical Fiction
Rating – PG-13
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Website jamesrada.com