I chose this book as my Alabama pick for the 52 Books Around the USA Challenge. As a lover of historical fiction, I was particularly pleased to learn about a time and events that are little covered in books I’ve read before.
The book opens in the years following the Civil War. Augusta Branson loses her husband to a mysterious sweating sickness, which soon travels throughout area, wiping out whole families. Augusta, a belle from a Southern family of nobility, was encouraged to marry Henry Branson, a Yankee carpetbagger, with money enough to keep Augusta and her family from starvation. But there’s a price to be paid. The community has cast her out, her marriage a large, black stain upon her.
This novel is a wonderful achievement. Polites relates the atmosphere of the southern reconstruction, social and political, within a great back story, fraught with mystery and intrigue. It’s clear that the author has done a tremendous amount of research and he set all this within a Southern Gothic novel that is hard to put down. Bravo!
4 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2012