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Jeffrey Lent Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

In the Fall (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
Lost Nation (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Peculiar Grace (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
After You've Gone (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Slant of Light (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
Before We Sleep (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon

Jeffrey Lent is a bestselling author of literary fiction author from that has been compared to William Faulkner. Lent writes a vividly descriptive historical drama that has become highly popular among historical fiction connoisseurs. He made his start with the novel “In the Fall” which was a New York Times Book Review Notable Book and was so popular that it was reprinted four times in the first month of its publication. He followed the novel with “Lost Nation,” “A Peculiar Grace,” “After You’ve Gone,” “A Slant of Light” and “Before We Sleep.” Lent went to State University of New York and Franconia College in New Hampshire where he studied psychology and literature. However, his path to authorship was not as straightforward as he took almost fifteen years after graduating from college before he published “In the Fall.” But once he got his first novel published he was on his way and has never looked back since. Jeffrey Lent currently lives with his wife Marion Walton Lent in Vermont.

Jeffrey Lent has said that writing is always something he has always done as he penned an intentional poem when he was about six years old. He was always a voracious reader and during his twenties wrote a lot of poems though he never managed to transition to longer works despite trying several times. It was only when he met his wife in 1985 that his path towards becoming an author crystallized. The encouragement from his wife made him write and publish more than five novels until he hit on “In the Fall” his first major success in the year 2000. In the intervening period, he held a range of caretaking jobs to pay for utilities and tent while his wife was an attendant at an Asheville Malaprop Bookstore. Unlike Lent who felt that he was at the lowest point of his creativity, his wife was doing fine as a graphic designer and illustrator for an educational company and as an independent freelancer. His debut novel “In the Fall” was written while he was employed as a New York Times contractor In Asheville. He would drop off bundles of newspapers at stores and hotels then retire to think and write his novel in the afternoon.

While Jeffrey Lent has been called a historical fiction author, he does not feel comfortable with the tag. He does set his novel in the 19th and 20th centuries but says that he just loves to tell a fascinating story and such stories just happen to be set in historical time periods. Some of the novels also come from his own life experiences and what he sees in his everyday life. However, he has always had a lifelong interest in history and as such certain issues and themes tend to be repeated in his works. His novels have been compared to the works of William Faulker and the author has said that Faulkner has been a huge influence on him. For Lent, discovering Faulkner was huge as he read all his short stories and novels such as the “Snopes Trilogy,” “The Hamlet,” and “Absalom, Absalom,” which became touchstones for his work. The haunting language in addition to the dignity and wealth of his rural stories also bears a striking resemblance to that of the great American literary giant.

In his novel “In the Fall” Jeffrey writes a tautly plotted and lengthy novel that follows three generations of a New England family. The family struggles with the emotional conflicts and social ambiguities brought about by incest and their heritage of interracial marriage. It starts during the civil war where it follows a wounded American soldier saved by a teenage slave and the generations that follow from their relationship. Jeffrey Lent’s “Lost Nation” is an edgy and overpowering novel about a taciturn and solitary man named Blood who is heading for the virgin lands of Maine to carve a life from the unyielding soil of the American wilderness. He is primal man who intends to pay his way to his new opportunities by selling child prostitute Sally whenever need arises. Blood is a primitive and coarse man yet he arouses sympathy as he is a damaged man that always is an outcast. In “A Slant of Light” he tells a story of an America through the lives of two men who could not be any more different. It is a story of how the two navigate a world of revenge and theft, followers and prophets, war and loss, love and lust in an America whose golden age illusion has been broken. It tells of how people can make sense of tough circumstances to revamp their lives.

“In the Fall,” the first novel by Jeffrey Lent is a chronicle of forbidden love and turmoil that transcends three generations. It starts during the Civil War when a soldier from Vermont marries a runaway slave girl. The man is a nineteen-year-old named Norman Pelham who is injured and dying out on the field of battle when he is found by Leah a 16-year-old girl. She had run away from North Carolina after she killed her half-brother who is also her owner’s son that attempted to rape her. They have a strong attraction but they are holding back from letting it turn into love given the racial situation in the country. But on the road to Vermont, they give in to their passion and then get married. Lent recreates the scenes of cider pressing time, soldiers coming back home and the ins and outs of whiskey running and bootlegging of New Hampshire of the 20s. While it is the men that provide the narrative thread, the theme rests on Leah, whose story united grandson, son, and husband. Twenty-five years after escaping from her owner in North Carolina, she feels she has to go back to North Carolina and reconcile with the past. But what she learns is a huge mystery that will only be revealed to her grandson who eventually makes the journey down south.

Lent’s “Lost Nation” is set in the early part of the nineteenth century and is the story of Blood, a brute who is transporting a cargo of rum to the New Hampshire wilderness. It is a yet to be pacified territory but a lot of the outlawed and luckless have made a new start in the wild territory known as Indian Stream. He is a man full of learning and wisdom though he is also full of contradictions and a secretive past. He had won a sixteen-year-old girl named Sally from the madam of a brothel and has taken her with him to Indian Stream. But once they arrive in the land of the lawless, a crisis erupts as they clash and the bond between master and servant is severed to present both of them a new opportunity to find themselves. But the conflict in the community soon spills over and outside authorities come in. Many in the community see Blood as an easy scapegoat for their problems and he is soon in danger of becoming an outcast yet again. Sally is offered hope of escape while Blood may have to confront the ghosts from his past.

“A Slant of Light” is one of Jeffrey Lent’s best novels that deals with some intensely seminal happenings in America including the Civil War, the looming Industrial Revolution, the Second Great Awakening that resulted in religious freedom and the death of the Jeffersonian ideal. The novel tells the stories of two men one of who is found to be a man of integrity and honor though he had committed what was thought to be a horrible act. The other was deemed a righteous man but he is soon revealed to be greedy for power as he gets blinded by his own actions. The two live in a setting that is full of a variety of characters many of whom have been hurt but have come out stronger. There is a boy forced to grow up too soon, a veteran transformed by war, a man too powerful yet he does not realize his power and a father mourning the death of a daughter. It is a world in which women are also waking up and taking up roles to better themselves.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Jeffrey Lent

6 Responses to “Jeffrey Lent”

  1. Baxter Young: 2 years ago

    A friend from Maine sent me “In the Fall” and I was hooked. I love “After You’ve Gone”, But my favorite by far is “Before We Sleep” (2017), where the new power of Lent’s prose and intriguing paragraphs lifted me to new heights of appreciation for his work. He’s the best we’ve got now in American fiction.

  2. Linda Johnson Ahlgrim: 3 years ago

    Jeffrey Lent’s book “In the Fall” I found at a thrift store and loved. I have now read all his books. “After You’ve Gone” left me wanting more. What happened on the last page left my mind racing wanting another chapter. His writing is so good.

    • Baxter Young: 2 years ago

      A friend from Maine sent me “In the Fall” and I was hooked. I love “After You’ve Gone”, But my favorite by far is “Before We Sleep” (2017), where the new power of Lent’s prose and intriguing paragraphs lifted me to new heights of appreciation for his work. He’s the best we’ve got now in American fiction.

    • Rose: 1 year ago

      Incredible coincidence Linda as I live in England but on hols in Scotland in thrift store found ‘In the Fall.’.Great problem to buy or find in Uk as not published here..will have to search internet.Wonderful books..aren’t they..?

      • Richard: 1 year ago

        I think I’ve read all his books (once I finish A Peculiar Grace which I’m reading now).
        I live in Wales and I’ve been able to get the novels either from the library or from Abe Books who have second hand copies.
        Wonderful stories full of great characters and all written in beautiful, sparkling English. This is literature of the highest standard and I hope that he may yet produce more.

        • Tracey: 6 months ago

          I just read all of these wonderful books. Haven’t read an author I like this much in ages!
          Will there be any more in the future?


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