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Jean Marie McLain

As Best We Could

[As Best We Could] is one of the best books I have ever read in my life.
LvR, Austin, TX

"I really cannot speak enough about it, I loved it and frequently was moved by it. It was one of those rare books that you don't want to end...you know, the kind of story that when you see you are halfway through, your thought is, "darn, just 250 pages more." My hat is off to Jean Marie, a gifted author."
WB, Austin, TX

"I've been enjoying reading your book and could kick myself for not doing so before this. It's terrific."
JC, Wimberley, TX

"When you told me about your book of the correspondence between a farm girl and her friend fighting for the Union in the Civil War, I was wondering how you would handle such a difficult topic; made even more difficult by the restraints of the times, the required prudishness of the women, etc. You handled it splendidly! The actions at home and at the battlefront come very much alive. You (the reader) see them rolling before your eyes and much of it becomes unforgettable. I laughed and cried reading it- mostly cried- because there are so many sad and moving elements in the story. [Reading it] was a joy, in fact, a magnet that kept me attached to your writing for hours on end."
GB, Austin, TX

"The introduction of your characters is brilliant. It is very interesting, delightful, clever, happy and sad, and moves along quickly. It is an excellent job. I continue to praise you for your innovative writing, using olden day activities, such as the sap boiling, syrup making, and sugaring off. I was wondering how I was going to come down to an ending, but you have done that well too!!"
BT, Delhi, NY:

"I am so amazed at your ability to make these characters come alive on the page- they all have such distinct personalities. Your book is wonderful. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I am quite amazed at all the research it must have required on your part. I learned much about the Civil War I did not know. The romance between Jamie and Mary was delightful."
BF, Austin, TX

"I've been reading the book, and last night I got in bed to read before going to sleep. I must say your book is a page-turner, and I stayed up much longer that I should have! I realized that it has just the right mix of romance, fact, and good storytelling! There is a lot of intrigue and you keep wanting to see what will happen next. What a wonderful book!"
CB, Syracuse, NY

"I just this minute finished reading your wonderful book and had to drop you a line with my praise for it! All of your characters are so alive and the letters format an excellent way to tell their story. Your pacing, your attention to detail, your organization, and your clear writing all contribute to the excellence of the book. Needless to say, I was on tenderhooks at a couple of points in the book! I will certainly recommend it to many readers I know!
"
HP, Pewaukee, WI

"It's the kind of book a man would buy for his lady to help her understand why this Civil War stuff is interesting. And a good solid story in its own right. As a reader, one comes to care for the characters and want things to work out for them."
JR, Austin TX
 
"We have not met but I feel a bond since reading your wonderful As Best We Could. I read it in a day and a half. In the last two years I have become fascinated by the Civil War and have read about ten books so far. Your book truly brought everything that I have read so far to LIFE. I started reading your book and became engrossed as though I were experiencing the same feelings as your Jamie and Mary. You have a gift and it needs to be shared."
TG, Waukesha, WI

"I just wanted to tell you I am really enjoying your book!"
SR, Easton, PA:

"Your level of scholarship about the war is amazing- but you make it very real and readable. And the farm work too. Your characters are beautifully drawn and very interesting. It made me cry a couple of times!

[A friend] reported to me this morning she has read more than 100 pages and LOVES your book. She says you are a great writer, that she can hear the voices in her mind. She wishes she didn't have to do other things so she could just sit and read!"

JR, Waukesha WI

"What an amazing work from a talented writer!"
JN, Albany, NY

"Well, I finished reading your book last night. I could not put it down and stayed up until 1 a.m. this morning to finish it. I loved it. I was moved to tears on a number of occasions. The descriptions of some of the battles were awesome. It was frustrating to me that I had to put your book down from time to time. (Hate it when I have to go to work.) I always know that when I can't get a book out of my mind for a while, it is a keeper."
KW, Austin, TX

"I've been asked to read other peoples' writings before, and always before I've had to seek and search to find something constructive to say, looking for that delicate turn of phrase that can encourage but still give advice. This is not at all the case with As Best We Could. I have been enjoying it thoroughly. The characters are charming. The details are vivid. I laughed at Dusty's antics and cried at the lists of those missing. I've held my breath to see how one correspondent was going to react to the other's letter. I've been annoyed with Cicely and Grandmother, and very angry with Father for selling off the lambs without even asking. It is so human. It is so real. You have done an astonishing and wonderful job."
AK, Houston, TX
 

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