By: Jeffrey Turner
Publisher: Page Publishing
Publication Date: 2021
Reviewed by: Katie Specht
Review Date: May 24, 2021
Author Jeff Turner’s fifth novel, A Rescued Soul, tells a story of companionship and camaraderie set in the year 1918. Our hero, Henry Cameron, is a teenage boy who forges an unbreakable connection with Lieutenant Tom Cooper, whom he meets at Camp Dewey, a camp that prepares youth ages 10-17 for sea-based military service.
Henry and Lieutenant Cooper form an instant connection and begin to learn much about each other. Henry’s home life resembles Lieutenant Cooper’s as a boy in that neither were raised by their parents and instead experienced a rather tumultuous upbringing. Henry proves himself as a cadet who is respectful and pays attention to his superiors, which Lieutenant Cooper appreciates immensely.
As the summer at Camp Dewey draws to a close, Henry and his cadet friends decide they want to enlist and join the fight, despite their young age. They devise a plan to meet after the conclusion of the summer to obtain fake birth certificates and become part of the front lines of history. The meeting day arrives, and Henry’s friends gather as arranged, but Henry does not make an appearance. The friends wait as long as possible before forging ahead with their plan without Henry. Rather than enlisting with his friends, Henry has decided to take Lieutenant Cooper up on his offer to work full-time on his Vermont farm.
As a city boy from Boston, Henry has much to discover about life on a farm, but he is eager to learn and Lieutenant Cooper is happy to teach him. Henry quickly becomes the Lieutenant’s right-hand man with farm work, especially with training the horses that call the farm their home. Henry develops a particularly formidable bond with one horse named Monte, which surprises the Lieutenant since Monte had previously been quite skittish and untrainable. As the story progresses, we witness both Henry and Lieutenant Cooper forge such a strong connection that it is even suggested that they are “kindred spirits.”
Turner’s A Rescued Soul tells a heartfelt story of friendship and connection amidst a very uncertain time. This novel is especially interesting in that it really has two protagonists, one being Henry, the naïve teenage boy and the other being Tom Cooper, the well-seasoned military lieutenant. This unique perspective allows this story to be relatable by both teen and adult readers alike. The prose that the author utilizes is simple yet engaging to readers. Many societal issues are examined, including war, foster children, runaways, sickness, the complexity of love, and wounded veterans. There is truly something for everyone in this story. At the heart of this novel is the unbreakable connection between a horse and his horseman, which undeniably ends up saving more than one character’s life.
Quill says: Jeff Turner’s A Rescued Soul will make you laugh in merriment, gasp in shock and cry in sorrow as you delve deep into this meaningful story of friendship. The reader will be left with a newfound appreciation for the little things in life, along with the revelation that sometimes the person needing to be rescued instead turns out to be the rescuer.
To learn more about Jeffrey Turner, please visit his amazon page.