I have been getting LibraryThing Early Reviewer books for several months and just got the first one that made me think, "Wow, I'm glad I got that book!"
Sweetsmoke is an evocative title. It draws in the senses and sets a mood. The novel does the same. It draws us into the life of Cassius, a slave on the Sweetsmoke plantation during the Civil War, and gives us a sense of the sights, sounds, and smells of that life. Even more importantly, though, it imparts, more effectively than any book that I've read, what it means to be a slave, what it means to be an intelligent adult treated as a child or property.
I love historical fiction and this book has all of the elements of great historical fiction. The main character is compelling and many of the others are multi-dimensional. There is a clear sense of place and a wonderful integration of the historical events taking place at that time. David Fuller spent years researching this book, and it shows. The historical details are right .
The writing is skillful and descriptive. Several times while I was reading the book I had the thought that it would make a wonderful movie, and I think that that was due--at least in part--to the fact that Fuller brought his skills as a screenwriter to the writing of this book.