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Independently published historical fiction author Jessica James is preparing for a busy Christmas season after receiving the coveted John Esten Cooke Award for Southern Fiction for her Civil War novel Noble Cause. This award is presented annually to encourage writers of fiction to portray characters and events dealing with Southern history and the war between the States in a historically accurate fashion.
Other John Esten Cooke Award winners include New York Times bestselling authors Donald McCaig for Jacob’s Ladder, Robert Macomber for Point of Honor, and Harry Turtledove for The Guns of the South.
John Esten Cooke, for whom the award is named, was one of the most important literary figures of nineteenth-century Virginia. A prolific author of historical adventures and romances in the tradition of SirWalter Scott and James Fenimore Cooper, Cooke’s work holds a significant place in Virginia’s literary history and in nineteenth-century American literary culture.
Released in Charleston, S.C., on the 150th anniversary of the firing on Fort Sumter, Noble Cause has garnered a number of other prestigious national awards, capturing the attention of Civil War authors and historians, as well as avid romance readers. It won the Next Generation Indie Award for Regional Fiction, and was named a Finalist in the Historical Fiction category in the USA “Best Books of 2011″ Awards.
The Midwest Book Review calls Noble Cause, “riveting historical fiction,” while other reviewers have compared it to Gone with the Wind in scope, grandeur and quality. The fine line between friends and enemies is revealed in this epic love story that captures the emotions and fears of the country as war sweeps the land. Though laced with historical detail, it is less about the clash of armies on the battlefield, as it is about the clash of loyalty and love with honor and conviction.
A Yankee by birth, the author takes readers on a journey south of the Mason-Dixon Line to the rolling hills of Virginia in this historically accurate love story that is capturing national attention for its attention to detail and unique blending of romance with historical fiction. “It’s very fulfilling to know that even those who are not interested in the Civil War are enjoying the book,” the Gettysburg author said.
James’ first novel, Shades of Gray, also won numerous national awards and temporarily moved ahead of Gone with the Wind on Amazon’s bestseller list in its category. The author was featured in the book 50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading, published in 2010, and has been invited as a featured author to the Amelia Island Book Festival in Florida in February.