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Here, at long last, is the climax of Price's Savannah quartet--which, taken as a whole, covers the history of that graceful southern city from 1812 to Sherman's march in 1864. Though past quartet volumes have threatened to talk devotees to death, Price's patient followers now get a stirring payoff. She begins by checking in on quartet favorite Natalie Browning Latimer, who's mastered the rigors of upcountry life (along Georgia's Etowah River), happily raising her lame daughter Callie, doting on husband Burke, and sticking her nose into family business. Natalie does her level best to stop the wedding of her friend Mary Cowper Stiles (a Mackay) to the rich widower "Redbeard" Low, since she knows Mary's in love with ne'er-do-well Elliott Stuart. But the wedding goes forward, with Mary proceeding to produce a passel of Low heirs. Meanwhile, kindly Mark Browning (Natalie's father) finds himself unhappily estranged from family and friends due to his Union sympathies. The Savannahian Brownings and Mackays are avid newspaper readers, and through them we hear of troubles over slavery in Kansas; the birth of the Republican Party and the rise of Lincoln; John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry; and much more. When Georgia secedes, Mark loses his son at the siege of Fort Pulaski; grandame Mackay, Miss Eliza, finally bids the chaotic world adieu; and others bite the dust too, including Mary Cowper and her first love, Elliott. Mark feels a stranger in Savannah; but just as Sherman spares the city, he reclaims it by treading its beloved streets, clasping the hand of his part-Cherokee grandson, Ben. Price--who's 72--juggles a legion of characters with amazing dexterity, crams enough Savannah color into her pages to win her the keys to the city, and trots to the quartet finish lines victorious--and, apparently, barely winded.

Pub Date: May 14th, 1989
ISBN: 385-23069-9
Publisher: Doubleday
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