Shaun J. McLaughlin
Shaun J. McLaughlin has published two history books on the Patriot War of 1838 and two historical fiction novels: the award-winning novel, Counter Currents and its sequel, Dark Southern Sun. All books are available as ebooks and paperbacks. Shaun maintains two history blogs: one on the Patriot War and other 19-century Canadian/American border clashes (Raiders and Rebels); and, one on William Johnston, the Thousand Islands legend (Pirate Bill Johnston). A researcher, journalist and technical writer for over thirty years, with a master’s degree in journalism, Shaun lives on a hobby farm in Eastern Ontario. Now a semiretired freelance writer, he focuses on fiction and nonfiction writing projects.
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by Shaun J. McLaughlin
One spring day, while hoeing a neglected country garden, a new-from-the-city hobby farmer finds an engagement ring encircling the green finger of an emerging asparagus shoot. This rural tale--at times whimsical, and at times poignant--presents some of the theories on how the ring got there, while tracing the evolution of family.
Islands of Love and War
by Shaun J. McLaughlin
Ryan, 18, arrives alone in the New World and blunders into the chaos of the 1838 Patriot War. Circumstances drive him into a web of piracy, secret societies and rebellion. He meets and falls for a smuggler's daughter, Kate. Tugged by the opposing currents of romance and war, Ryan struggles to reconcile his family history, his duty and his heart.
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Smashwords book reviews by Shaun J. McLaughlin
- Gold, a tale of the California Gold Rush
on May 19, 2013
Gold is a tale about people traveling by ship from New York to San Francisco bound for the new gold fields of California. The main character leaves behind a down-and-out life and grows into his full stature as a common sailor. The story is embellished by an odd assortment of well-defined characters, intrigues, plots, and adventures as the long voyage south down the Atlantic, around Cape Horn and up the Pacific unfolds.
Steve Bartholomew has done a professional job researching the history in which this book travels. As a historical fiction writer, I appreciate the work time and effort he spent learning details of the early steam ships and the customs of the time.
- Lily's Story
on Aug. 26, 2013
Lily’s Story follows the life of a pioneer woman from childhood to dotage. Born on a rough hewn farm in Southwest Ontario in 1840, she witnesses over her long life the end of the old-growth forest, the disappearance of the natives, escaped slaves arriving on the Underground Railroad, the coming of steam trains, the discovery of oil, the birth of Canada, economic prosperity and depression, and several wars that claim men in her family.
Gutteridge has blended superbly researched history with lyrical literary fiction to create an intriguing tale of the sorrows, sacrifices and joys of Lily’s entangled life. Lily’s Story is part history and part fable, with historical personages and a bizarre gallery of local characters. It is one of the few historical fiction books that includes a bibliography—just so you know the history part is not made up. It is a long book at 287,950 words and not designed for anyone with a short attention span. It is a long read and worth every minute.
- The Immortal American
on July 18, 2014
The Immortal American by J. B. Joramo is a love story set in the opening days of the American Revolution in Massachucetts. The writing is professional and the characters well-crafted. Violet is engaged to Mathew, someone she has known her entire life. Along comes Jacque, a captivating stranger with a dark secret. Violet suffers the internal thrill, shame and torment of someone in love with two men. Her simple and happy life is further roiled by the deaths of close family. About three-quarters of the way through the novel, Violet becomes immortal. This gift/curse is entirely unncessary to the story's success, other than to serve as fodder for a series built around Violet. For some reason, the Smashwords edition has a fixed column width and does not fill the screen of my Kobo. Because of that, I nearly discarded the novel until I read the first few paragraphs—and was hooked.
- Hawk Banks - Founding Texas
on April 10, 2015
Hawk Bank is a western yarn that is easy to read and may teach you some history in the process. D. Allen Henry sets the story in Texas in the days prior to and during the revolt against Mexico. Like any good historical fiction, Henry has been faithful to the facts while spinning fiction. (He makes no mention that part of the impetus for war was that Mexico banned slavery and big Texan landowners wanted them.)
The title character, Hawk Banks, is a burly Texas Ranger and adventurer instinctively lured to the impending war with Mexico. Along the way, he lures a naive and passive settler, Hank MacElrae, into the fight. Hank faces hostile Comanches and the give-no-quarter Mexican army as he reluctantly follows Hawk and somewhat grudgingly fights for Texas. The interplay between Hawk and Hank works well. The cast of supporting characters—Texan, Mexican and Comanche—gives the story depth.
Don’t expect literary depth but do expect entertainment.