Review: They Laughed Through It All by Dalton Shelby----I'll giveaway ONE copy!

My favorite book shop is The Book Rack, in Arlington, Texas. They sell both used and new books, in every genre! At the entrance to the store they display new author books, most of them independently published.  
They Laughed Through It All, was sitting at the check-out desk, and the owner of the store shared with me a bit about the author of the book. Dalton Shelby is a first time author at age 80. His granddaughter's typed up his story. I was smitten by this book as soon as I saw it. I'm such a softy for first time published works, especially authors who've written their first book at age 80.
I'm sad to say my favorite book shop will be closing at the end of this month. It's been in business since 1975. E-books and the economy has forced the owner to make a tough decision. With a heavy heart, she will be closing the store her dad opened in 1975.
The hardest thing to face up to is that by buying e-books, and by purchasing books in a large conglomerate super book store, there is no longer the intimacy between a book shop owner (who knows their business) and the buyer--a.k.a. book lover. As in so many things of our generation, intimacy is being clouded out, by superficial information such as on social media sites.

Title: They Laughed Through It All
Author: Dalton Shelby
Publisher: Dalton Shelby
Genre: Fiction
Labels: Civil War, Short Stories
Format: Paperback
Age: Adult, or young adult.
Pages: 124
Rating: 3 Stars

This is a short story, at 124 pages, and in large print.

It's October 1861, and three boy's are working in a cornfield. The day is dry and hot and dusty. James Monroe, H.H., and Jake, are working hard bringing in a harvest of corn. James Monroe is also known in the story as Roe. Jakes brother Shep wanders into the scene and as a spur of the moment decision they all go to town and join the army. H.H. is the only person in his twenties, the other boy's are in the mid teens. This impulsive decision will have dire consequences later in the story.

My Thoughts:
  • I got a little confused with the characters, because alternate names were used, or initials, as well as two names for one man. Anyway, I had to go back and read and re-read certain parts to figure out who was who. 
  • I was also unclear about exactly where the boy's were at the start of the story. I think they were in Texas, near the Red River, this would put them in far north Texas near Oklahoma border. 
  • There are several brief events during the time the boy's first went in the army. One was a fight with a black bear. 
  • The story appealed to my emotion in that the boy's were so young. After joining the army and sowing a few wild oats, one of them just wanted to go home and be with his family. 
  • A brief history of what happened in Arkansas and Missouri is in the story. 
  • Civilians are weaved in to the story, with both positive and negative benefits of coming across a family who was pro-confederacy or pro-union.
  • The story ends abruptly. I was disappointed. I feel with a little help this could be the beginnings of a better story. It's a little rough now, but has promise. 
Sorry, but this book is not available to purchase through Amazon, or Barnes and Nobles, etc.
If you would like a copy of this book, a signed copy, send me your email, I'll choose a winner by random.