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Nick, I finished The Long Road Home this weekend and truly enjoyed it. Not only did I learn a lot, I found myself looking forward to each new section. I was glad to see that you have already started on the third book in the series!

M. Jones

Just a note to let you know how much I enjoyed reading “The Long Road Home”. You are truly a Great writer and I still can’t believe it’s you writing these books. I am sure your Grandmother and Mother would have been so proud of you. Please let us know when the next book comes out I am looking forward to reading it.

Clestia W.

Just a note to let you know how much I enjoyed reading “The Long Road Home”. You are truly a Great writer and I still can’t believe it’s you writing these books. I am sure your Grandmother and Mother would have been so proud of you. Please let us know when the next book comes out I am looking forward to reading it.

I thought I knew a fair amount about this period of history. I am amazed at how much I learned in reading this great story which follows friends who end up on different sides of this tragic time in our country. I am impressed by how much research the author must have done to provide actual letters, speeches, photographs, etc. which brought this story to life. I felt the pain of loneliness of wives and children left behind while the “menfolk” went off to uncertain destinies. The descriptions of the depression and despair felt by men on both sides of the conflict was moving. You will come away from this book with a greater appreciation of the generation who found themselves on both sides of arguments, some of which continue to this day. Knowing that this story is about real people who survived – and some who did not – made it all the more compelling. Some pages I had tears in my eyes, and some moments gave pure joy in a lighter moment described – like a breakfast of bacon and biscuits! You will never forget the people you meet between the covers of this impressive work of family and national history.

Lynda D. 

I loved this book and can’t wait for Nick West to give us another chapter! It is an easy read and I enjoyed learning how James and Randi fell in love. I had no idea how rough life on the road with a traveling circus was, and “The Great Southern Circus” gives a colorful, passionate insight into the lives of circus-folk. He touches on the racial landscape in the months leading up to the Civil War without allowing it to cloud the story of a budding romance. I would recommend this book to high schoolers and older.

A delightful and easy read for people who are lucky enough to have circus folks as ancestors. And for the people who enjoy a good love story, this one is a charmer. Set in the middle of the nineteenth century, we get front row seats under the big tent as we watch the ringmaster introduce the Big Show, and watch as the grand performance is about to begin…A very enjoyable book and I’m looking forward to more books from this author.

Peggy K.

I loved this book! The historical theme entwined with a touching love story was endearing. I cannot wait for the sequel. I wholeheartedly recommend this book (& it’s sequel when available) as a engrossing and poignant testimony to how much times have changed and how our ancestors endured so many hardships. It is a humbling and accurate portrayal of a life we can only, remotely imagine. Read the book and feel the trials and tribulations our ancestors have endured. Bask in their bonds of family ties and love everlasting (I hope)(the sequel, please!).

BRAVO!! How wonderful that you were inspired to write this story. As I was reading it, I kept thinking how much more history I would have learned is school if the lessons had been fashioned more along this venue. I also kept thinking how very exciting it must have been for you to go on such a journey of discovery with all the research you did and, most of all, finding factual history of real individuals, places and events.

For many years I have regretted with passion, the fate of the Indians of North America. I never found any arrowheads, but as a child I “played cowboys and Indians” and I was always an Indian. It was thrilling to learn a little more about Florida history and especially something of the Timucua.

Lastly, we are in Ma Eros Hiri. I think of it every single day. For you, it was the perfect time in your life to have written this book. You are fortunate indeed to have a loving, extended family. I will always remember your mother and father with much affection. They were good people. So, your roots are showing.


After reading The Great Southern Circus , I found it hard to believe that Nick West had not written before. The historical research really opened my eyes to what it must have been like to travel in a circus as the Civil War was approaching. The book left me wanting to know more~ as I reminded myself that this was indeed a “true” story! I so hope he continues to write. It was a great read!!

I absolutely cannot wait to get my hands on the next book. My grandfather is the author and he is SUCH a talented man! I could not be more thankful to have this family history. But EVERYONE should read this book!

Jessica C.

I started this book yesterday and finished it the same night. I honestly could not put it down. I will admit that I NEVER even thought of a circus during the Civil War Era. How dangerous the times were but what a GREAT adventure and love story. I MUST know more about the characters and what happened to them. I’m awaiting a sequel for SURE!!!

In researching my Madderra ancestors I found Nick West as a fellow researcher. When I learned he had written the story of James Thomas (J T) and Nancy Ann Lawless Madderra I immediately bought the book. The story was riveting and explained so much in such an enjoyable style that I could not put the book down!! The main love story is about the eldest daughter Miranda – and what a love story it is!! My great-grandmother was her little sister, Virginia, but to “meet” the rest of the siblings and Great-Greats has been such a wonderful treat for me. They come alive for me. To know the life of the circus in that era is fascinating!! It is amazing – the hardships and difficulties, and the sheer entertainment of circus life of their time! And what an adventure for them all! Relative or not, it is a beautiful book and can be enjoyed by all ages…I did not want it to end but to continue on and on and on. Thank you Nick West!! You have done a great job!! Continued success with the next volumes! And hurry up!!!

Judy McCombs

The Great Southern Circus was most enjoyable from cover to cover. All of the characters seem very familiar and immediately accessible. Looking forward very much to the sequel. Having family who lived in Georgia and Florida during this time period, it provided a window into their world that was most enjoyable!

This is one of the most interesting books about the Circus and life as it was during the 19th Century. I could not put the book down once I read the first sentense. Mr. West is a very talented writer, giving us a beautiful love story along with lessons in life. I have known this family for a long time; heard stories about life, moving to Florida, trials and disappointments and I am looking forward to the sequel with much anticipation. My hope is that Mr. West will continue to write for our enjoyment!

Connie H.

The Great Southern Circus is not only about circus folk in the 19th century in the southern United States. It also portrays the culture of the south and the character of our southern ancestors. Nick West captures the language and culture of the times, but most of all the fortitude, passion and creativeness of that generation. We are all so lucky to have have Nick share with us their fears, hopes and dreams. I am looking forward to reading the sequel. Great Book.

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