I had no idea about this wonderful book as I was sent a reviewer copy by the author having reviewed similar genre books. The book has some time travel elements (similar to Diana Galbadoon's Outlander tales) but is more historical in nature. Dakota Wesley is an adventurer liking to canoe along rapids in West Virginia. While getting into a troubled ride, he is swept over the waterfall but instead of being seriously hurt he is transported in time back to the early part of the Civil War.
Not realizing what has occurred, he wanders around trying to get some help and starts noticing things that shouldn't be. He is a suspect to those he meets as he is wearing a Washington Redskins shirt and he is in a spot that is a focal point for both the Southern and Union forces.
Not sure where to go, he finds his way back to his own house, where the original owner (Daggett) is residing. Daggett's son was recently killed in battle and he needs someone to help him farm as he is elderly and can't do all the work on his own. Daggett takes Dakota in and allows him to stay if he will help with the work.
Dakota has nowhere to turn to so he accepts and is subject to backbreaking work with little food and rags to use as clothing. Dakota also has to be careful among any strangers as all men his age have been conscripted into the military and he could easily be forced to fight for one side.
The author does an amazing job of transporting the reader back in time where you can actually picture being there with Dakota and smelling what he smells and seeing what he sees and feeling what he feels. Dakota is a very simple man with not a lot of needs. I especially enjoyed the author's descriptions of Dakota's travels, especially his trips to Washington DC in an era when the "White House" had yet to be named and the Capital was undergoing renovation.
One day Dakota uses something he brought from the future to make some new friends, and to ultimately be thrust onto the battlefields of some early historical battles. There he witnesses the carnage and must also do what he can to keep from getting hurt himself.
I couldn't put this book down and my only complaint is that it was a little bit short and I really wanted it to continue.
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An accident sends Dakota to the past; a modern gadget threatens his future. Great Falls National Park, Virginia: Dakota Wesley drops his kayak into the river's shallow edge. Below him the waterfalls roar in a maelstrom of nature's fury. Shaking off last-second jitters, he peels out into the Potomac's chilly waters, the fast current sweeping his boat downstream and into the realm of no turning back...chasing the big whitewater thrill. But then something goes terribly wrong. When he comes to, Dakota finds that his modern surroundings have vanished. Instead, he discovers the Virginia landscape of an era long past-nearly 150 years earlier-a time torn by civil war. In order to survive, he joins another man's desperate plight, and together they fend off starvation, foraging parties, and locals who question Dakota's identity. Desperate to return to his future, Dakota finds hope in the form of a modern gadget, one that can change his fortunes. But it may also lead to his demise... Expertly weaving a passion for the great outdoors with historical events, Great Falls is a unique and compelling new novel of unexpected journeys and chance encounters.