BLOOD RED ROSES by Elizabeth Boatwright Coker


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Those roses ramble through this straggling tale about a South Carolina outpost during the War Between the States, in which no character seems to take root and one scene muddies into another. Angelica, from Virginia, marries handsome Beau, owner of Cotton Hall on Hilton Head Island. Beau is pater familias to three younger brothers, two of whom are removed early on (through war and transport to England), leaving ten-year-old Button to divert Angelica during Beau's military ventures. Dimly perceived through the comings and goings of Yankee brass-and-trash and simpleminded, hysterical blacks: a fuss about a will which will decide ownership of Cotton Hall; the Yanks' abuse of the Cotton Hall household; and the unwelcome advances of Frederick--formerly a spy, now a Yank general. During the trying occupation and attendant rue, Angelica conceives a child by Beau (who is hiding out), is condemned to die for Frederick's murder (Button shot him for attacking Angelica), and is rescued by Beau's nick-of-time trot-in on horseback. Tedious and Tara-ble, but Coker's rosy readership may keep this from withering on the shelf.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1977
Publisher: Dutton