Grog Wars by Anne Sweazy-Kulju

Grog Wars by Anne Sweazy-KuljuGrog Wars by Anne Sweazy-Kulju

Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Indie/Self Published on February 3, 2015
Pages: 324
Format: eBook
Source: Author
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three-half-stars      two-flames

A German Brewmaster’s adventures of leaving home, traveling to America, hitting the Oregon Trail, and building his new brewery along with the additional story of the wife he was forced to leave behind made for a colorful, engaging historical romance.

I love when a writer tackles either a less popular historical era or a less written about historical setting or element.  In this case, the story was split between that of the German states and it’s people during the American Gold Rush and prime pioneering years.  The author didn’t stint on the culture and society of the times and it was fun to see Burke encounter historical American icons along the way.  I first caught on when he met western outfitter, Levi Strauss.

And if that weren’t enough, this was a romance trope that I enjoy- the marriage of convenience.  Burke is the third son of a successful German brewmaster and has skills of his own, but he is not one of the two favored sons simply because his existence is not welcome.  His father can’t stand the sight of him because his birth was the cause of his mother’s death.  Burke is the one married off to a young girl he has never met- the daughter of a carter and below his station- and he is told that he’ll be sent to America to expand the family business there.  Burke makes the most of his situation both falling for and gently courting his new bride and also taking on his father’s order and proving his worth on the journey across the world.

Now, Burke’s new wife, Lily, is also one who has been disappointed by life.  The man she thought to marry spurns her because he wants to marry up in status and he definitely doesn’t want a wife as independent as Lily.  Now her father agrees to a match that will advance her in status.  Lily is wary, but starts to hope when Burke is much better than she ever expected.  For one, he doesn’t mind that she has her own ideas and he supports her business endeavors.  He is gentle, kind, and protective.  Now, he is on a long and perilous journey that will take months and he will have to build up a business from scratch.  Meanwhile, her former love interest is sneaking into his boss’s wife’s bed and pretending to court the boss’ daughter all while staying close to Lily and she lets him.

Burke is tested the entire journey, but he comes into his own making wise choices and wiser friendships.  He longs to send for Lily and longs for her.  Only, he has no idea that a snake is infiltrating his Eden and might destroy much.

Alright, this was a fantastic adventure.  The writing style took some adjustment as the scenes and narration flip back and forth quickly.  Once I adjusted, I had no trouble focusing.  I loved going along with Burke for all of his part of the story and I loved seeing others value him.  I even enjoyed seeing Lily’s success back home.  But… yeah, there’s a but.

Lily.  Bless the dingbat’s heart.  She is so duped by her former crush, Josh, and she stupidly lets him hurt everyone in her circle of family and friends because she won’t act against him when it’s in her power to stop him.  She especially lets him really go after Burke.  She doesn’t grow and learn or feel responsible for her part in things Josh did.  It was disappointing because she starts out as this fiery woman who starts her own business, makes a success, and cares for her father along with Burke’s remaining family, but then she just fizzles out into a ninny who sabotages her own marriage and the lives of those around her for the sake of a villain.  The author gives some insight later in the story into why this is and it makes some sense, but it doesn’t change my opinion.

On a side note, I don’t normally bring up pricing, but I found $15.99 for an electronic novel-length book beyond excessive.

All in all, I enjoyed the author’s immigration tale and adventure along the Oregon Trail and also Lily’s own adventures.  I thought she wrote colorful, entertaining scenes and characters.  Historical fiction and historical romance fans who want something out of the upper class drawing and ballrooms should give this a try.

My thanks to the author for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

Latest posts by Sophia Rose (see all)

  • Probably not my kind of book and yes that price was more than too much.

    • Yeah, this one won’t be for everyone, for sure. Gads that price. It shocked me when I caught a glimpse of it.

  • I’ve not heard of this one! It’s definitely not the type of historical fiction that I’d usually read. $15.99 is definitely way too much for an ebook. It’s a lot for a paperback book, in my opinion! Phew. I’m glad you liked the book overall though. =) Great review, Sophia!

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    • Yes, it was a bit different for me, too. I enjoyed that part. Um yes, very pricey even for a trade paperback let alone an e-book.

  • This one is new to me. To be honest, I would have most likely passed this one up based on the cover and price alone. It does sound like a fun read with a setting that I can’t remember reading about before. Great review!

    • I might have been curious about the title, but yeah, I might have passed on it so I was glad it was offered as a review request so I didn’t miss it.

  • Bless the dingbat’s heart. Bwahaha that made me laugh so hard. I believe I read one of her books a few years ago. I’ll have to check out my shelves. It looks like price dropped to 9.99 but goodness still a lot for an ebook.

    • Um, yes, I was really trying not to go on a tirade, but I felt a white-washed one wouldn’t be too awful. Haha!

      Well that’s good that the price came down. I went into sticker shock when I was on the page cross posting my review. Yes, 9.99 is still pushing it.

      She has written a few others and her name is unique so you might have snagged one a while ago.