CAROLINA GOLD by Herbert Best


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A good addition to a relatively new series, in which fictional biographies introduce women who have played a significant part in our nation's development. Carolina Gold is the story of the girlhood of Eliza Lucas, credited with Carolina's second big money crop. The time is the mid 18th century, when Eliza, recently home from school in England, is confronted with a crisis. Her father, recalled to his regiment in Antigua, her mother a semi-invalid, and three somewhat neglected plantations, totalling five thousand acres, demanding immediate attention if the family fortunes were to be secured -- this was the situation sixteen year old Eliza found herself in. Carolina Gold is the answer -- but nobody knew how to cultivate indigo, in South Carolina, nor how to extract the precious dye. The story is a lively one and Eliza emerges as quite a person in her own right. Fictional, I imagine, is the thread of plot involving her impulsive buying of an indenture to save a young Englishman caught by ill fate on landing in Charles Town. But the balance of the story, the sense of life in those days in colonial areas, rings true. The climax comes with success of the crop, though the potential romance flubs off into the uncertainty between fiction and fact.

Pub Date: Jan. 11th, 1961
Publisher: John Day-Daughters of Valor