Wednesday, July 8, 2015
New Review: Day Taylor’s THE BLACK SWAN – Civil War Saga and a Bodice Ripper Classic
Most of this book is “keeper” material, but as you’ll see from my comments, there were also some questionable parts.
Set in the Civil War between the years 1850 and 1865, it’s a sweeping saga of the South and the love between two people who grew up on opposite sides of the slavery issue but with similar views: noble hero, Adam Tremain, a blockade running captain, who moved the Underground Railroad to the sea, and Dulcie Moran, the only daughter of Savannah's most prosperous slave-breeder.
It is divided into three “books”: Adam (1852-59); Dulcie (1850-1862); and The Black Swan (1862-1865). While he was still a teenager, Adam experienced the hatred of the white slave owners for any who cavorted with the slaves, and he wanted no part of it. He vowed to become one who sent the slaves north to freedom. Dulcie, raised as an indulged young woman in the genteel Southern society by a father who considered the slaves mere animals, couldn’t understand why the slaves she loved weren’t treated like family.
The characters were well developed and the imagery vivid. We know exactly what motivated Dulcie and what moves Adam. We experience their young loves and are not surprised when they are attracted to each other. They are not so different really; each believes the slaves should be treated as people, and they lament a society in which they are not. Each has the courage to fight Southern Society for what they believe is right.
There are some wonderful secondary characters, including Tom, the aristocrat from New Orleans who married Ullah, a light colored slave, because he loved her, the families of Adam and Dulcie, and Adam’s two childhood friends, Beau and Ben, who join him as fellow captains.
Until the 3rd “book” I was thinking I’d stumbled across a keeper. Then the story took a bizarre twist with a shipwreck, a voodoo island and a twisted family that holds Dulcie captive. Adam and Dulcie are separated and both partnered (willingly or unwillingly) with others. The story finally comes back around for a great close, but you should be aware of this detour.
For more of Adam and Dulcie’s romance you have to read the second in the duology, MOSS ROSE, set in the Reconstruction Period after the end of the Civil War.
Buy on Amazon.