Even a decade after the Civil War, the evil deeds carried out in the Border War for "Bloody" Kansas are not forgotten. Hate and revenge still rule the hearts of some, while others wish only to forget and disappear.
In the beginning, Boy Smyth has a dull Missouri farm life and a burning desire to be an outlaw like his hero, Cole Younger.
In the end, Boy Smyth has five dead bodies and two burning buildings at his farm and the most feared man in the United States crying outside his front gate.
And that desire for the outlaw life? It's purged completely from his system.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Historical Fact interwoven with fiction is a rich tapestry I absolutely love reading. Our history books are filled with nothing but dry facts. Learn dates, learn names of battles, but at no time do they allow you to FEEL the humanity of the people living through the historical events. Thank God we have gifted authors so enchanted by history they can and do take the dry facts and create a living, breathing reality around those events. As an American, I was aware, superficially, about the Younger brothers and their criminal career, but Mike Hays' book for our youth, lets us see the human side of these two and the people who supported them as heroes, not villains. THE YOUNGER DAYS is written for the young, but there is a wealth of pleasure to be found here for readers of ALL ages and all generations. FIVE STARS for Mr. Hays and a solemn plea for him to continue bringing history to life.
Sometimes a son is exactly like his father. Other times a son seems to have nothing in common with his father except for the same name. Eleven-year-old William Smyth, Jr., AKA Boy Smyth is embarrassed by his father. Why does his pa make the sign of the cross at the big stone at the gate to their farmhouse where he had carved words from the book of Jeremiah? And why does Pa argue with the townspeople that the James-Younger Gang members are just thieves when most everyone else in town considers them heroes? THE YOUNGER DAYS, a MG/Tween historical novella by Author Mike Hays, set in 1874, ten years after the end of the Civil War, is a story of secrets and truth, mistakes and forgiveness. When two riders, one of them badly wounded, show up at the Smyth’s farmhouse one evening, Boy Smyth’s courage and faith in his father are severely tested. His mother also has a surprise or two for her son. When family secrets are revealed, will they bring the Smyth family closer together, or will they split them apart? The author has written a story that will appeal to history lovers (like me), as well as to fathers and sons that may see each other in a new way, the way Boy and Pa do when the truth is finally revealed. And don’t forget Ma. She’s a spunky woman who gives us a look at the courage of a woman in the 1800s, willing to risk her life for her family. I don’t know what grades study the 1800s and Civil War, but school libraries and classrooms should have copies of THE YOUNGER DAYS to supplement their lessons on the time period. Of course, your own private library needs a copy too. A nice addition to historical literature, blending fiction and history. ###