- Paperback: 308 pages
- Publisher: Blank Slate Press (April 8, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0982880669
- ISBN-13: 978-0982880661
Publication Date: April 8, 2012
With the nation moving toward Civil War, James Turner, a charming, impulsive writer and lecturer, Charlotte, his down-to-earth bride, and Henry Cabot, an idealistic Harvard-educated abolitionist are drawn together in a social experiment deep in the Missouri Ozarks. Inspired by utopian dreams of building a new society, Turner is given a tract of land to found the community of Daybreak. But not everyone involved in the project is a willing partner and being the leader of a farming community out in the middle of nowhere isn't exactly the life Turner envisioned. Charlotte, confronted with the hardships of rural life, must mature in a hurry to deal with the challenges of building the community while facing her husband's betrayals and her growing attraction to Cabot. In turn, Cabot struggles to reconcile his need to leave Daybreak to join the fight against slavery and his desire to stay near the woman he loves. As the war draws ever closer, the utopians try to remain neutral and friendly to all, but soon find neutrality is not an option. When war finally breaks out, Missouri descends into its uniquely savage brand of conflict in which guerrilla bands terrorize the countryside while Federal troops control the cities, and in which neither side offers or expects quarter. Ultimately, each member of Daybreak must take a stand-both in their political and personal lives.
My take on this book:
James Turner finds himself traveling around the country giving lectures after his book "Travels To Daybreak" a story about a Utopian community becomes a huge success. While traveling he meets his wife Charlotte, a strong willed woman that he knows is his perfect match. When on of his followers, George Webb, offers him a tract of land in Madison County, Missouri to form the community of Daybreak looking at it as a social experiment, where everyone who joins the community of Daybreak will own an equal share, and have an equal say, with all their earnings going into a common treasury, he decides to take Mr. Webb up on his offer.When his wife arrives she brings along Adam Cabot, a young abolitionist that her father had saved from hanging back in Kansas. Soon there are several community members and most are bookworms with the same ideals as James, but with little knowledge of farming. James quickly realizes that it isn't going to be easy to financially sustain the community. Inside the community, trust is lost, and leadership is tested, meanwhile on the outside there is unrest as a county goes to war. While the citizens of Daybreak deal with the turmoil going on inside their community they are determined to remain neutral where war is concerned. Will the community of Daybreak survive?
I love stories that revolve around the civil war and this book effortlessly pulls readers right into this time period. I found myself drawn to the characters. James was a character who had me volleying between like and dislike. While I thought his idea was interesting, I ultimately found myself very disappointed in him, and felt like his wife Charlotte was much stronger than he was, which was evident in the decision she made regarding Adam. There were several secondary characters that kept this story moving along. From George Webb's son Harp, who made moonshine and wasn't happy with the fact that his father had given the land so that Daybreak could be created, to Sam Hildebrand, an outlaw of sorts who kept cropping up in the story. The author's writing not only brought the characters to life but also allowed the reader to visualize the day to day life of Daybreak, and the decisions that had to be made. Another interesting aspect for me was the fact that the author weaves a bit of fact into his fiction. The author provides an ending that leaves the reader anxious for the next book. Overall whether your a fan of historical fiction or just looking for a book that will capture your imagination and not let go then you need to pick up this book! On a scale of one to five I would easily give this book a six because it's just that good!
About the author:
I was born and raised in the eastern Missouri Ozarks -- my folks grew up on adjoining farms, and our family roots go deep in Madison, Iron, and Reynolds counties.
I went to college at the University of Missouri. After a few years as a newspaper reporter, I returned to school and then got into the higher education biz, with teaching stints at Centenary College of Louisiana, Drury College (now "university"), Culver-Stockton College, and Western Kentucky University. I'm currently the associate dean for graduate studies at Columbia College in Columbia, Missouri.
I'm an avid canoer, rafter, and kayaker on Missouri's float streams.....a longtime member, friend, and supporter of the Quincy, Illinois, Unitarian Church.....a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals.....a hiker (ok, make that walker).....a board member of the Missouri Writers' Guild. I find pennies on the sidewalk more frequently than anyone I know.
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