Southern surgeon meets his match in a backwoods healer, in this second hardcover from historical romancer Landis (Summer Moon, 2001).
Sara Collier has spirit and intelligence aplenty, though she’s a country girl with no education and a member of the no-account Collier clan to boot. When she was only15, before he went off to medical school in South Carolina, Dru Talbot was struck by her natural beauty, and her knowledge of folk medicine and herbal cures charmed him. His family, the wealthy Talbots of Magnolia Creek, were mill owners with genteel pretensions, and they were scandalized when he married Sara on his return, yet only the bride could calm the nervous fits of his sister Louzanna. When the Civil War begins, Dru joins the Confederate Army, witnessing the horrors of that conflict while serving as a surgeon—until he goes missing and is presumed dead. Shattered by grief, Sara tries to obliterate her pain with a brief, careless affair that leaves her with an illegitimate baby. Meanwhile, Louzanna has never lost hope that her beloved brother may still be alive, and she has taken in Sara and little Elizabeth out of the kindness of her heart. Wonder of wonders, Dru comes staggering out of the woods one day, ragged and thin, delighted to be back in Magnolia Creek with wife Sara—but whose baby is that? Sara admits her sin but will not give up her child. Seems like the whole world has gone to hell in a handbasket, Dru thinks, what with carpetbaggers and free Negroes and women getting uppity. Despite his passionate feelings for his errant wife, her baby remains a thorn in his side and a source of shame. Reconciliation seems impossible until a yellow fever epidemic strikes. Sara and Dru work dawn to dusk to save lives—and (surprise) true love triumphs.
Formulaic storytelling, but with appealing characters and a swiftly moving pace.