Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Trials And Trails by Jim Halverson + #Giveaway


Trials and Trails by Jim Halverson

Category: Adult Fiction, 276 pages
Genre: Western, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Gail Force Publishing
Release date: January 2019
Tour dates: March 4 to 29, 2019
Content Rating: PG (The only "bad" word is the phrase "shit for brains" and it is used a single time. No sex scenes)

One of my 2019 New Release Challenge reads

How I got this book:
Received a review copy via iRead Book Tours

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


With a past of slavery and compliance, LeRoy has learned to pick his battles carefully. Johnny B, a quick-tempered Sioux, is still learning to control his anger. When dangerous circumstances bond them together, the pair learn to navigate Reconstruction Era America and all its prejudices. They save an innocent man from hanging, reunite two old friends, assist in an honorable death for an elder Indian, and discover their worth as they steadily assimilate self-respect into their lives.

From Jim Halverson’s debut novel comes a tale of adventure, purpose, and the pursuit of self-actualization. Cowboys and psychology ride hand in hand, traveling a journey from living life on the edge to finding a place of belonging, joy, vulnerability, and distinction. Through trials along their trails, LeRoy and Johnny B transform people they meet, brand the world a better place, and reap the benefits.

In Trials And Trails, Jim Halverson attempts to portray an Abraham Maslow philosophical theory within the context of a historical fiction novel. The theory is that we need to fulfil our physiological needs first - such as ensuring sufficient food and shelter - and will then strive to gain more abstract ideals - social acceptance, self actualisation and self transcendence. I was intrigued as to how Halverson would fare so was pleased to be able to read his novel as part of this blog tour.

Set across 1870s America, Trials And Trails follows a pair of noble drifters, LeRoy and Johnny B, as they slowly journey West. The pace of the story reflects that of our protagonists in that they are generally on horseback and with no particular destination in mind for the day's riding. I appreciated Halverson taking the time to look around the natural world through which they pass. Wild America must still have been an incredible place in these decades before humans left their traces everywhere. I enjoyed reading about this journey even though I wasn't always convinced by the validity of LeRoy and Johnny B's encounters with other people along the way. Our heroes seem to be able to swiftly overturn racism against them simply by being useful or speaking wisely and, even in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War, I can't imagine they could so easily reverse generations of bigotry.

I would have liked more in the way of uncertainty and tension too. I understand that Halverson's style is to accentuate the positive wherever possible but, for my tastes, the serenity needed more shaking up! Perhaps greater use of direct speech would have helped with this. We are frequently told of characters reciting or recounting events but, as readers, we are kept two steps removed from what actually happened.

On the whole I think Trials And Trails was an interesting look at this historical period. Halverson successfully achieves his philosophical aims and this is a good debut novel.


To read further reviews, please follow the tour on Jim Halverson's page on iRead Book Tours.



Meet the Author:



Jim Halverson grew up in the rural, gold-mining town of Mokelumne Hill, CA and received his MBA from Golden Gate University. He spent part of his life on a ranch and is an avid student of psychology. He recognizes the struggles of all men and women seeking equality and respect. Jim and his wife, Gail, spend their time traveling from their small farm in Forestville, CA.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Facebook

Enter the Giveaway!
Win a copy of Trials and Trails by Jim Halverson.
One winner will also get a $25 Amazon GC
(7 winners total / open to USA and Canada)
Ends April 5, 2019


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Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Jim Halverson / Western fiction / Books from America

28 comments:

  1. I've been in such a historical fiction kick this year! I've seen LOTSA Western around! I wonder if they are about to have their moment in the spotlight again! I hope so! It's way overdue! Wild America is a theme with endless potential!

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    1. I think it would be interesting for Western's to take the limelight again, especially when written from non-white perspectives!

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  2. I can see where this would be an interesting read.

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    1. A little too gentle for my tastes, but I enjoyed the wild journey aspect

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  3. I think I'd appreciate more shaking up as you said. Great review!

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    1. I understood why the author presented his story in this way and his philosophical focus, but I think stronger peril would have worked well too

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  4. Sounds good. I'm not much of an historical reader, but when I do read that genre, it's westerns that I love.

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    1. Westerns seem to be making a comeback at the moment so it will be fun to see how the genre is reinterpreted

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  5. I love the cover and this sounds like a good read.

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  6. I enjoyed the synopsis.

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  7. I love the Old West as a setting! I can understand wanting more tension from a book, but I'm glad it was still an interesting read regardless :-)

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    1. I haven't read many Westerns, but I'm looking forward to discovering more!

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  8. I like historical fiction. Looking forward to reading this! -Sandra Preti

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  9. I think my stepson would love this book! That is if he can beat my husband to it :-)

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  10. Looks like a great read!

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    1. It's an interesting take on the Western narrative :-)

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  11. I have not read too many books of the American West. I have read a lot of historical fiction and non-fiction of the Canadian West. I think the people had much hope and they all had one goal in mind and that was the fact of simply surviving in a harsh land.
    lindacfast@hotmail.com

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    1. Absolutely true. The two men in this story have so much stacked against them, yet they don't give up hoping

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