“Savannah” by Eugenia Price details the story of recently orphaned Mark Browning as he leaves his position as a wealthy Philadelphian and begins life anew in the city of Savannah in 1812. Fueled only by his father’s effusive stories of Savannah and the knowledge that his father met his mother in Savannah, Mark boards a ship to begin a new life. Literally by accident, he is befriended by Robert Mackay who insists that he start his life in Savannah in the Mackay home. While the novel is well-written and the pacing is decent, I simply found the characters to be a little, well, bland. The setting is beautifully described and the details of daily life in Savannah are interesting. The author simply glosses over slavery as an issue without adequately addressing how her “too good to be true” hero might feel about slavery after being raised by an abolitionist aunt. The dialogue often lapses into much more modern speech as in the use of the term “blow out” for a big party. (According to my research, the term “blow out” is not recorded until 1825 and has a crass meaning.)
While it is interesting to note that the author has populated her book with many actual Savannah residents of the time, the Mackay family for instance, I found it difficult to warm up to many of her fictional characters. Browning is either the best man who ever lived or a cad for taking advantage of the caresses of one woman while in love with another. Much of the dialogue feels either stilted or melodramatic and lacks an easy flow of conversation. Despite my quibbles, I’d give this book a three star rating as it does paint a lovely, detailed picture of the growing city confronted by the early days of the War of 1812.
This book was provided to me by Turner for this review. The opinions, however, are entirely my own. “Savannah” is available now.