I received a review copy of this book as part of the blog tour organised by Random Things Tours. This did not affect my opinion of the book in any way.
Publisher: Oldcastle Books
Published: July 2021
‘This debt was not contracted as the price of bread or wine or arms. It was the price of liberty’ –
Kiah Harmon, a young Virginia lawyer, is just emerging from the most traumatic time of her life when actress Samantha (‘Sam’) van Eyck walks into her office, unannounced, with the case of a lifetime. She asks Kiah to recover a 200-year-old debt from the US Government – a debt that Alexander Hamilton may have acknowledged.
The selfless generosity of Sam’s ancestor, Jacob Van Eyck, in making a massive loan of gold and supplies at Valley Forge, during the freezing winter of 1777-1778, may well have saved George Washington’s army, and the War of Independence, from disaster. But it reduced Jacob to ruin. Despite the government’s promises, the debt was never repaid, and this hero of the American Revolution died in poverty, unknown and unrecognised.
Two hundred years later, Sam and Kiah embark on a quest to change that. But first, they will have to find the evidence, and overcome a stubborn Government determined to frustrate their every move. Will there ever be a statue for Jacob?
I love legal thrillers but for some reason I haven’t read any in a long time. So, when the opportunity to take part in the blog tour for A Statue for Jacob came up, I jumped at the chance – and I was not disappointed!
A Statue for Jacob captured me right from the start. I was really invested in Kiah and Sam’s efforts to obtain recognition for Jacob’s role in the War of Independence, and knowing this was based on real events made it all the more interesting. My knowledge of that part of American history pretty much boils down to the musical Hamilton, so I appreciated the opportunity to delve a bit deeper into it and learn something new.
The legal aspects of the book were fascinating and never boring, something which is not always easy to achieve (the author has real-life experience of practising law, and it shows!). I loved seeing how the various characters would argue themselves out of a difficult position, and all their arguments were so clever it was a real pleasure to read through them. I also adored the courtroom banter: it was witty and fast-paced and had me giggling like a lunatic for most of the time.
There was also just enough tension outside the courtroom to keep me glued to the pages, keen as I was to see what would happen next. There was only one particular element to the story which didn’t quite work for me as it seemed to not really blend well with the rest of the book, but in the grand scheme of things it was a minor thing and didn’t affect my enjoyment of it (I won’t go into any more detail to avoid potential spoilers).
The characters were also fantastic. They were all so different from one another and really unique, and I could easily imagine them as real people. I would have a hard time picking my favourite out of all of them, to be honest, but Kiah certainly deserves a special mention. She’s incredibly smart and tough, still recovering from a highly traumatic time in her life, yet she always manages to remain kind and compassionate towards those around her. She’s a real professional, and for that is recognised and esteemed by everyone. It was deeply refreshing and satisfying to read about a main character who is known and loved for her professionalism!
The dual POV worked very well too, and I liked seeing the case through the eyes of Dave Petrosian (the lawyer representing the government in the lawsuit) as well as through Kiah’s. I had a few minor issues with a couple of passing comments or descriptions of certain female characters (for example, one character references “the ticking of her biological clock”. Just… no). But this happened rarely enough that I could overlook it, and it didn’t take anything away from the great characterisation that was otherwise happening.
Overall, A Statue for Jacob is a gripping, fascinating novel inspired by the true story of a forgotten American hero, with charming characters, clever arguments, witty banter and just enough political intrigue.