Whirligig: Keeping the Promise

Written by Richard Buxton
Review by Elicia Parkinson

The American Civil War seems an unlikely place for a young Englishman to wind up in the name of love, but that is exactly what happens to Shire, who leaves his home in England in order to keep a promise to protect his childhood friend, Clara. She has come to Tennessee for what she believes is love, and Shire takes it upon himself to try to save her from disaster. His efforts involve joining the 125th Ohio Infantry in 1863.

The premise may sound simple, but Buxton tells a story rich in careful and touching detail. The events Shire experiences on his journey to find Clara are painstakingly researched and are told in a way that feels realistic to a modern-day reader. The story at times reads as though it could have been written contemporaneously, which is a feat with which established and seasoned writers often struggle. Yet Buxton has accomplished it in his debut novel, which means we are in for a treat the more he grows as a writer.

This is the first novel in what will become a trilogy, and I look forward to reading the next two books when they become available. The characters are rich, the settings are impeccable, and the backstory is solid. Highly recommended for readers with an interest in the American Civil War who feel all the great war stories have already been written.