Not a ""gothic"" as indicated, but rather a saga-ette with not only a country but a house divided during the Civil War when the plantation of the Chances is left to some assorted sons and daughters--all with red hair whatever the color of their skin. Lucinda, the spunky youngest, seventeen, is determined that Jeff, her older brother/ guardian will not sell her short, nor the plantation, nor the slaves who are to be manumitted. In order to safeguard her patrimony, she marries a newly discovered cousin Richard who is off fighting, twice reported dead, while Jeff is deservedly murdered. . . . The duenna of the feminized mystery takes naturally to this genre, telling a different story without a magnolia twig in sight. None of the ladies will secede.