Book Reviews - The Latest Releases February/March 2023

February 2023
Written By: 
Ashley Daniels
Photographs by: 
courtesy of the Publishers

Whatever Happens, Probably Will  
By John W. MacIlroy
Published by Short Story America
Release Date: May 15, 2022, $20

It’s no surprise that John W. MacIlroy’s fiction has quickly garnered praise from critics and awards from national competitions. His debut collection of 18 short stories, Whatever Happens, Probably Will, proves that MacIlroy is a sort of storytelling magician, with him able to somehow wave a wand to create strong Southern characters, poignant emotion, skilled description, and a pivotal point in the plot where everything changes before wrapping it all up in an extremely short word count. 

“… John W. MacIlroy has firmly established himself as one of today’s masters of short fiction. As the reader travels from story to story, in any sequence, he or she experiences the delicious wistfulness of the thinking person’s life experience, awash in the joy, sadness, love and loss that rewards being fully awake as a human being,” says T.D. Johnson, winner of the International Book Award for Best Short Fiction.

Before this collection, MadIlroy’s short stories appeared in many publications, such as Y’all Magazine, which named his “Duke’s” a Best of 2019 Short Story. Additional awards include the 2021 Amy Munnell Prize for “Three Buses” and a finalist in the 2021 Coker Fiction Fellowship and the Excellence in Southern Writing Competition for “The Man Inside.”

The Intrepid Patriot: Captain Jacob Milligan of the South Carolina Navy – The American Revolution
By Scott R. Gabrielson 
Published by Ingram Press
Release Date: 2022

We all know the main characters in American Revolutionary War history – George Washington, Charles Henry Lee, Francis Marion, even Benedict Arnold – but have you ever heard of Captain Jacob Milligan?

The Intrepid Patriot brings to life the true story of Captain John Milligan, one of the first captains of the South Carolina Navy, which was a forerunner of the United States Navy. In South Carolina during the Revolution, in fact, there were more battles at sea than on land, and the South Carolina Navy, with Milligan at the helm, helped to defeat the British by providing supplies and gunpowder. He was hailed for his efforts in the Battle of Fort Moultrie on June 28, 1776, eventually leading Congress to approve the Declaration of Independence on July 4. 

Author Scott R. Gabrielson of Myrtle Beach, who earned a master’s degree in early American history from Coastal Carolina University, is actually a descendant of the Milligan family. He expertly weaves together detailed historical facts, maps, photos, and reinterpreted “In Jacob Milligan’s Words” excerpts throughout the book.