Book Review: The Reservoir by John Milliken Thompson - More2Read

The Reservoir by John Milliken Thompson


“Pitch-perfect to the post-Civil War era…This is an impressive first novel…an artful vehicle for grappling with temptations and the ambiguities of guilt….The Reservoir gets stronger and richer as it rolls toward its startling climax.”­ —Jim Lynch, Washington Post

“In this compelling novel, this superb writer instructs and enchants.” —Richmond Times-Dispatch

“An engaging mystery novel rendered as Southern literature.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Solidly entertaining.” —Publishers Weekly

“Historian and debut novelist Thompson mined a treasure trove of documents and background detail for this novel, based on an actual murder and trial set in 1880s Richmond, VA…Thompson masterfully illustrates how a seemingly clear-cut case can be filled with ambiguities.” —Library Journal

“Fans of courtroom drama, historical mysteries, and Southern gothic are sure to enjoy the tale which, even once the book is finished, will keep readers wondering about what happened at the reservoir.” —ForeWord Reviews

“Gorgeously suffused with the feel of 1880s Virginia, The Reservoir is not a whodunit but, even better, a did-he-do-it… John Milliken Thompson’s debut is an all-too-human and unforgettable puzzle, rendered in haunting shades of gray.” —Holly LeCraw, author of The Swimming Pool

“It is the way people think and feel that creates the plot for this book … the characters are absolutely right from start to finish.” —Joanne Greenberg, author of I Never Promised You a Rose Garden

“Impressive… Even though the story takes place in Richmond, Virginia about twenty years after the Civil War ended, there was a sense of urgency on my part to get to the book’s conclusion. In other words, whenever I had to put the book down due to eyes that simply could no longer remain open, I looked forward to the moment that I could get back to this intriguing tale.”— Carol Hoenig, The Huffington Post

My Review

There is a noose waiting, waiting to tighten on a neck. That neck better be the killer of one stirred heart of a girl an expectant mother.
Stirred hearts, love and friendship.
Many hearts wavered by one rather beautiful empty Heart, a web of family intrigue.
Justice is the key, the good should rise above the evil ideally as the common rule.
This story is one to be talked about for many years to come one I hold it highly up there with the greats of Human struggle, greats like ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’
I think you feel the essence of what kind of story we are dealing with here soak it up and savor this delightful poignant true story presented in an exemplary fashion of storytelling of the joys and the losses in life.
The bliss of youth and friendship and the grimness and loneliness of the loss of love and life.


“The contrast between the two girls seemed to give him a window into the nature of his soul; he thought he must be in love with Lillie, but it disturbed him that the way he felt about her was passionate and physical, almost violent in its ability to take over his entire body and mind. It would be so much more pleasant if he were in love with Nola.”

” You couldn’t just Walk into a saloon on Main Street in the middle of the day, and into house of bad repute at night. People had morals then. Now it’s
just sin everywhere you go. People smoking, spitting, gambling, cussing. Nossir, in my day, people didn’t act thataway. They behaved theirselves, and people got along just fine, even if they didn’t like each other.”

“Reservoir’s the end of the line. I been twenty years driving this route, ever since the war ended, and Reservoir’s always been the end of the line.”

“is beauty all around. When you’re out there trying to make your mark on the world, don’t ever forget how beautiful it already is.”

Once you finish the story visit the authors website here for some images of real letters sent.

Reviewed by Lou Pendergrast on 26 July 2011

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    A Conversation with John Milliken Thompson

    John Milliken Thompson talks about the true story behind his novel The Reservoir