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The Drummer's Call

Children/Young Adult; General Fiction (including literary and historical); (Market)

When Josh is forced to visit his great-aunt’s historic inn in Dover, TN, he assumes it will be the worst vacation of his life. That is, until he meets a young boy on the property who looks eerily similar to a boy in one of the antiquated family photos that line the walls of the inn. As his friendship with the boy deepens, Josh suddenly finds himself thrust back to the year 1862 and into the heart of the Civil War. Trapped in the past, Josh has no choice but to become involved. Filled with intrigue, hope, despair and the everlasting bonds of love and friendship, The Drummer’s Call captures the bravery of a young boy as he fights to survive the Civil War and return to his family.
Readers' Favorite

Reviewed by Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers' Favorite

The Drummer’s Call by Patricia Leppo is an exploration into posterity. Josh is a California bred ninth grader, who loves video games and playing drums in his band. Recently, the loss of his father has rocked his world. Sandy, Josh’s mom, feels the burden of loneliness, grief and responsibility. Hoping the change of scenery will get them through the winter break, Sandy decides to take her kids, Evie and Josh, to visit her aunt and uncle in Tennessee. Josh is not thrilled about the idea. He would like nothing more than to have a break from his family. Upon their arrival at the Osprey Inn, all Josh sees is a run-down old building. He couldn't care less about the family history that ties him to this historical landmark. Trying to sleep, Josh is mysteriously stirred by the rat-a-tat rhythm of a drum. It is as if the drumming is calling to him. After a few days, boredom takes over and Josh begins to explore. With curiosity as his guide, Josh discovers the basement. Looking around, he notices an old drum hanging on the wall. Suddenly, the atmosphere of the forgotten room changes and Josh finds himself time warped into the Civil War era. Far away from his family, Josh is alone, “so many miles, so many years from home.” Or, maybe this is the journey of his lifetime, the pathway home. Stepping into history, Josh follows the beckoning sound of “The Drummer’s Call.” 

Josh and his sidekick, Toby, are a delightful combination. They have a rare and unforgettable bond created through timeless escapades. They are much like Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, or Frodo and Sam, portraying the reality that boys will be boys, regardless of the era. The deprivation of the time and the fortitude to survive is visualized through the eyes of the young hero. The young protagonist, Josh, travels the path of his heritage; he literally descends into the world of his descendants. Josh experiences the overwhelming loss and hardship of a country divided by war. Hard work for the young and the old, issues of slavery, lack of sanitation and brother set against brother on the battlefield are revealed throughout the story.

Patricia Leppo pens a tale of adventure in The Drummer’s Call. In a story based on real life events, Leppo definitely did her homework. This fictional narrative is easy to read, making it a desirable book for her target audience. Yet, it is full of historical accuracy, taking the reader into the world of the Civil War, creating a story for all ages. Leppo depicts her time setting with sensory perception. The action flows, peaks, and ebbs smoothly. The denouement unfolds with sad and promising outcomes, giving way to a satisfying conclusion ... leaving the lasting reminder to be careful what you wish for because you never know where it will take you.