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Kendall Gott
Steamboat Seasons: Dawn of a New Era
Kendall Gott, author
This historical novel is the sequel to Steamboat Seasons and Backwater Battles, following our Captain and his steamboat during the year after the American Civil War. He finds little remains unchanged of his life, his livelihood, and his country. His love, Ann, rejoins him, but conflicts arise. Consignments fade away as the Southern economy is wrecked, and it may be years before its recovery. The newly freed African Americans have not realized any true benefits the end of slavery promised. Labor disputes and competition from the railroads and the dangers on the rivers cause the Captain to reassess his life. A deadly conspiracy stalks his boat up and down the Mississippi and onto the Missouri River-and ends in a final confrontation.
Plot/Idea: 7 out of 10
Originality: 6 out of 10
Prose: 8 out of 10
Character/Execution: 7 out of 10
Overall: 7.00 out of 10


Plot/Idea: The post-Civil War era plot meanders in the beginning but eventually picks up speed as the main character branches out on diverting, and dangerous, shipping assignments. Moments of suspense are carefully woven throughout the narrative and occur naturally, as the author steeps readers in the end of the golden age of commercial steamships. 

Prose: The prose mimics the time period and setting of the story, and the writing is flush with genuine terminology that recalls steamship travel. Gott draws interesting parallels that will alert readers to deeper meaning: just as the narrator characterizes other cultures as finding it necessary to adjust to technological advancements, so too must he learn to adapt as the steamship’s role is improved on and surpassed. 

Originality: Gott fashions a solid historical fiction that chronicles the evolution of commercial steamship ventures, while shedding light on the distinctive temperament of America after the Civil War and during the years of westward expansion.

Character Development/Execution: The Captain is an appealing character, and much of his inner turmoil is left up to reader interpretation. His attempt to bridge a disappearing world and find meaning at the same time is fundamental and mirrors the novel’s premise.

Date Submitted: August 25, 2022