Book of the Week
July 3 -- 7, 2017
When the the Civil War was over, Jonathan and Susan Grenville moved their family back to Charleston, only to find that peace was easier to declare than to practice. The war that tore a nation apart might have ended in 1865, but the most important battles remained to be fought. The North struggled to resume business as usual, while the South faced economic disaster. Old state constitutions needed to be re-written before the United States would take their former enemies back into the Union. Old political alliances collapsed, and the party of Lincoln faced a decline into unparalleled graft and corruption. And over everyone hovered the question of what to do with the thousands of former slaves whose status as citizens remained undefined.
The following ten years gave rise to some of the most important constitutional developments in the history of the United States. The Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments would change the face of a nation, but the advances came at a terrible cost. In many ways, the transition would take another hundred years to reach fruition. And in the meantime, generations of black men learned that the pathway to becoming African-American was a dangerous one.
As the reunited country struggled with the problems of Reconstruction, the Grenvilles found themselves seeking new economic opportunities to replace the old cotton culture. Jonathan and Susan inherited vast land holdings that threatened to bury them under a deluge of back taxes unless they could find a new way to turn the lands into new revenue sources. Other family members decided to work together to meet the ever-present need for food by creating their own grocery business. And two of the family’s enterprising young people took on a challenge to capture, tame, and recreate an ancient breed of horses that had adapted themselves to living wild in the swamps of South Carolina’s Lowcountry.
At the same time, the Grenvilles were swept up into political rivalries and civil riots that churned their peaceful streets into battlegrounds. Family ties shattered as their maturing children searched for their own answers to the questions of how best to live their lives. One son took refuge in a separatist religious community, while another became an armed advocate of White Supremacy. Susan’s black cousins fought for equality and became targets of those who hated blacks. A daughter was swept into a romance with a black man. Daily life became a constant battle marked by visits from the Ku Klux Klan, threats of violence, and accusations of murder.
Follow the Grenvilles as they navigate the difficult years between 1867 and 1877.
What other readers are saying:
Having grown up in another state, I was concerned about some references to historic events during Reconstruction in South Carolina. After reading sections, I researched the real events (i.e., in Abbeville and Camden) and found the book disturbingly accurate in historic detail.. I enjoyed the symbolism of the Sheldon Church ruins, having been there many times. This book explored some complex issues with characters of that time, including the acknowledgment of families of mixed slave and plantation owner roots and the conflict for transplanted Northerners. —DC. Pitts
As a historian herself, Schriber is able weave a great deal of the low-country’s history into the story while keeping her characters interesting. As an observer of human nature, she gives Susan active voice and opinions within the confines of a 19th century marriage, and turns Jonathan into a much more likeable character than he was in earlier years. Important Carolinians like Robert Smalls, the first former slave to be elected to Congress, and Wade Hampton, the Confederate cavalry officer who became Governor when the Democrats regained political control in 1876, play important roles in this fictionalized story. The novel’s conclusion finds Sarah and Jonathan again moving from Charleston with new ventures ahead. Can we hope for a third installment? —Amazon reviewer
Yankee Reconstructed will feature a 76% price reduction starting July 4 and running until 8:00 AM (PDT) on Saturday, July 8. Get your Kindle copy for only $0.99 at: