Here's one of the texts I'm thinking of using on the back cover of my new book, The Road to Frogmore. I'd really like your input. If you picked up this book and read the back cover blurb, would you want to read more?
What could possibly go wrong? Laura Town and her life-long friend Ellen Murray joined the Port Royal Experiment in 1862 to test their abolitionist ideals against the realities of slaves abandoned by their owners in the Low Country of South Carolina. They hoped to find a place they could call home, as well as an outlet for their talents as schoolteacher and doctor. They traveled as part of a reputable band of missionaries from Boston and New York under the sponsorship of Salmon P. Chase, Lincoln’s Secretary of the Treasury. It seemed like a good idea at the time, until . . .
Until they experienced the climate—torrential rainfall, violent storms spawned over the Atlantic, searing heat, long periods of fog tainted by the gasses coming off the swamps, alligators, tropical cockroaches, bedbugs, and clouds of swarming mosquitoes and “no-see-ums” that left nasty bites in their wake.
Until they met the slaves themselves—full of fear and resentment of white people caused by centuries of cruelty, slaves who had been forbidden to learn to read or see the outside world, slaves whose superstitions included night hags who sucked the breath from the unwary, evil graybeards who haunted local trees, and unfree spirits who rolled up and down the roads at night in balls of fire.
Until the dedication of the missionaries found itself tested by lack of food, furniture, medicine, and the bare necessities of life. Until the unity of the abolitionist effort fell apart under the strains of religious differences and unrecognized prejudices. Until quarrels over cotton crops, land sales and recruitment for black army regiments sent even the wisest of leaders home in despair.
And until the combination of encroaching military battles and raging epidemics of malaria, yellow fever, and smallpox made death their constant companion. Could two independent women survive the Civil War and achieve their goal of turning slaves into citizens?