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A Review of "Lords of St. Thomas"


Mid-October is, arguably, the most stressful time of year for a college student, and I am certainly not the exception of that idea. That being said, in the midst of all of my midterm exams, I was absolutely delighted to have such an amazing book to read during study breaks. Mr. Jackson Ellis sent me Lords of St. Thomas as an .epub file in exchange for an honest review, and I was pleased to find out what a touching and heartbreaking tale Mr. Ellis' debut novel posed for me.

My Rating: 

Synopsis: "In the Mojave Desert, at the southern end of the isolated Moapa Valley, sat the town of St. Thomas, Nevada. A small community that thrived despite scorching temperatures and scarce water, St. Thomas was home to hardy railroad workers, farmers, shopkeepers, teachers, and a lone auto mechanic named Henry Lord.

Born and raised in St. Thomas, Lord lived in a small home beside his garage with his son, Thomas, his daughter-in-law, Ellen, and his grandson, "Little" Henry. All lived happily until the stroke of a pen by President Coolidge authorizing the construction of the Boulder (Hoover) Dam. Within a decade, more than 250 square miles of desert floor would become flooded by the waters of the Colorado River, and St. Thomas would be no more.

In the early 1930s, the federal government began buying out the residents of St. Thomas, yet the hardheaded Henry Lord, believing the water would never reach his home, refused to sell. It was a mistake that would cost him--and his family--dearly.

Lords of St. Thomas details the tragedies and conflicts endured by a family fighting an unwinnable battle, and their hectic and terrifying escape from the flood waters that finally surge across the threshold of their front door. Surprisingly, it also shows that, sometimes, you can go home again, as Little Henry returns to St. Thomas 60 years later, after Lake Mead recedes, to retrieve a treasure he left behind--and to fulfill a promise he made as a child." (via Goodreads)

Thoughts and Comments


  • There was beautiful imagery throughout the novel that really illustrated the author's imagination.
  • It was very well-written, in my opinion, especially for a debut novel.
  • It is incredibly apparent that Mr. Ellis put a tremendous amount of love and work into this book.
  • There is very vivid detail in many of the scenes, which aids with the descriptions through the novel.
  • A great amount of history and lineage adds to the timely charm of the story.
  • The author uses lovely language and phrasing, especially when it comes to speaking through the mind and eyes of a child.


  • It's possible that the novel could have opened with just the first chapter instead of the prologue that was put into place--though the prologue was well done, perhaps it may have been unnecessary.


Lords of St. Thomas was a brief, beautiful story of family, homesick ties, and the overlooked hardships that many Americans faced in the 1930s and 1940s. The book leaves the reader with a different sense of adventure and an earnest to explore villages and ghost towns with a grand amount of history. Mr. Ellis, thank you so much for your kindness, your patience, and the opportunity to review your work. I very much look forward to seeing more from you in the future!

Amazon Link: See here
Goodreads Link: See here
Riffle Link: See here


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