Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Journey to New Canaan-Glenda Allen Reid and Luann Allen Payne

The Journey to New Canaan

Glenda Allen Reid and Luann Allen Payne

CrossBooks Publishing, Sept 16 2011, $19.95


ISBN: 9781462706525

In the late 1850s, Gabriel Lyon heir to the New Canaan planation in Baton Rouge leaves home to attend Amherst College in Maine. His father is bitterly disappointed in his son, but could not grasp Gabriel’s calling and his loathing of slavery since he was five years old. Gabriel considers his family’s slave Liza as his mother instead of the woman who birthed him and knows his dad would die of heart failure if he met his son’s best friend Charles Wood.

In 1860 nearing graduation and chosen by a small congregation as their preacher, Gabriel asks Professor Hall to bless his marrying the latter’s daughter Josephine. However, a letter arrives informing Gabriel his father is dying. He returns home and helps his father save his soul while making a deathbed promise to his dad that he would run New Canaan; his faith in the Lord tells him this is God’s mysterious plan for him. As he tries to save the plantation, be a devoted man of God, and a good husband, Gabriel finds the Civil War encroaching on him, his family, his slaves and his neighbors.

This is an insightful look at the south during the Civil War. A man of God, Gabriel is the glue who holds the well written story line together. However, it is the ensemble support cast that brings to life time and place; summed up by Ben who was a slave all his life and abruptly is declared a free man who has no idea how a free man lives. The Allen sisters provide a well written profound regional historical thriller.

Harriet Klausner

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