Reviews of Angry Heavens
Carolyn – Cornelius, North Carolina
David Michael Dunaway has written an engrossing book of likable, caring, courageous people dealing with the horrors of the Civil War. Dunaway carefully shows the reader the origin of the scars and the conundrums that still endure in the South today.
Dr. James Merriweather, a promising Charleston, South Carolina surgeon, must come to terms with the overwhelming demand on his sanity as he endures exhaustion of seemingly endless surgeries, amputations, hunger, cold and separation from his wife and young son.
Wife, Mary Assumpta Merriweather, is left at the family farm on Horlbeck Creek, South Carolina where she fights her own battles to take care of their nine-year-old son, maintain the family farm and home, while suffering heartrending loneliness eased only slightly by the infrequent letters from James.
A question at the heart of the story is: Can their love survive the turmoil of war, the not knowing about the other, the black dog of melancholy that plagues them both, and return to their relationship’s lovely beginnings in a small apartment above her brother’s surgery office in Charleston.
Sheila – Owensboro, KY
I loved your book and about halfway through couldn’t put it down. Bob would laugh when I stayed up until after midnight reading it. I was so anxious to see the ending. I’m sharing with a friend currently!
Very intriguing book full of twists and turns. Love the way the author used different font in his letters which made it much easier to move from one character to another. He showed great insight into personal issues between family members (these remain true to any armed conflict as I personally know). The climax is very gripping, and I couldn’t put it down; wanted to know the solution immediately. I enjoyed this book and liked the way it connected to my family genealogy; it helped make my family research come to life due to very similar situations.
Tillie – Alexander City, Alabama
Completed your book! I really enjoyed the way you wove the characters throughout the book! The more I read, the more I could not put the book down! Now I find myself with loads of dirty clothes, dust bunnies, and dirty dishes! Can’t wait for the movie/tv sequel!
Scott – North Hampton, Virginia
Just finished your novel, got me through hurricane Dorian. Nice touch with including your dog boomer. Loved the element of the killer you brought in and of the civil war backdrop. The civil war is my area of expertise in my history teaching days.
As I read it, there were times I heard your voice telling the story. Great job Dr. D. Your writing style reminded me of an author I recently got into…Ken Follett.
Bill – Montgomery, Alabama
The intro takes a while, but when then main characters show up the novel really takes off. The characters are believable and interesting, the kind of people you would like to have known (most of them). Dialogue is crisp and well written. A good and interesting story from a born storyteller who happens to be from a family full of them.
Lee Ann – Denver, Colorado
I just started reading it a couple of nights ago and I’m enjoying it very much! I love the introduction to the characters!
Fred – Cornelius, North Carolina
As I began with the Preface, Acknowledgements, and Prologue, I thought well – there’s a lot of info already. You must start from the beginning.
The story starts with James Patrick Bailey, the future patriarch of the clan, who lives in Charleston, SC. James’s granddaughter, Mary Assumpta Bailey, then marries into the Merriweather clan which brings the two families together. From there on you can’t stop. James Merriweather is a physician and ends up helping the wounded Confederates in the Civil War. You will read the letters between James and wife Mary Assumpta as they correspond while James is away at war.
The backdrop of the book re: the events of the Civil War, is most interesting. Everyone can see the hardship they went through.
I know everyone will enjoy this book.
Anonymous – Kentucky
NOTE: Due to the connection of the letters in Angry Heavens and personal own experiences, this reader wishes to remain Anonymous
The fascinating thing to me (I guess because I was writing letters every day while my husband was in Vietnam) was how thoughts/feelings run across history when you have a loved one in a dangerous place. I wrote many of those things but tried to keep everyday events in each of the letters to encourage him that “the world as he called everywhere except Vietnam” continued. I saved all of the letters he wrote and ones I wrote to him which were returned with him, read them one more time, and then burned all but the first and last. Guess that is what I identified with so much. Changing the font style per individual also really helped keep things straight.
Again, outstanding job!!! Don’t know how on earth you wrote that – AMAZING!
Dee – Charleston, SC
I wondered how you would address the ultimate reason for the Civil War—slavery. I liked the way you handled it. There is always the confusion as to why so many who did not own slaves were willing to fight for it. Is it racism, money, power, or anything that threatens a change? This conundrum, as you know, has been the story of many wars and humankind.
I am reminded of a person telling me that sometimes you know more about what a preacher thinks by what he does not say. I believe you left enough ‘space’ for the reader to feel the reality of the day-to-day and move beyond the taking of sides to depicting the characters as human beings caught in a difficult situation and searching for the best resolution.
Sharen – Oakland City, IN
I have read many, many novels in my life. This is better than some books I have read by professional novelists. I liked the use of letters and diaries very much, and “the strange paradox” of letters sent, not received, crossing in the mail, not being received in a timely manner. Of all the story, I was drawn in most to the characters. I really cared for them.
I liked “Naming Day” as the epilogue, and that it is a quiet, peaceful ending— and an ending of hope for the future.