BEAUTY FROM ASHES by Eugenia Price


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 The final installment in Price's Georgia trilogy (Bright Captivity, 1991, and Where Shadows Go, 1993) concludes the 19th- century saga of the Fraser and Couper families. This time, though, the Civil War, which makes a belated rescue attempt of a sentimental narrative bogged down in past sorrows, may be the true hero of the piece. The year 1852 finds heroine Anne Fraser struggling to survive on a widow's pension, having lost in rapid succession her husband, a daughter, and both parents. Her courage and fortitude are further tested when financial hardships force her to abandon the family plantation on St. Simons Island and take up residence in the inland town of Marietta. Relying heavily on the support of her four stalwart children, as well as her servant Eve, who is, as both women relentlessly declare, so much more a friend than slave, Anne worries that she's become a burden. But her spirits improve as she reconciles with her deceased daughter's husband and makes the acquaintance of Louisa Fletcher, a forthright Northerner whose opposition to slavery allows for several genteel discussions on the ethics of owning people. One of Anne's daughters becomes attached to a doctor with Union sympathies, another to a fire-breathing secessionist. When Anne's beloved son joins the Confederate army, the stage is more than set for the Civil War to come lumbering through--on page 450--bringing some much needed dramatic conflict in its wake. More lives are lost, redeeming babies are born, and it's all wrapped up in a strangely truncated ending that is reminiscent of the author's inspirational books. An earnest, good-hearted drama whose besetting sins of slow pace and florid dialect are unlikely to bother Price's loyal fans. This last of a trilogy will also be featured this spring in a national PBS documentary entitled Eugenia Price's South. (Literary Guild & Doubleday selections)

Pub Date: May 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-385-26703-7
Page count: 640pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1995


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