Alice Flagg: The Ghost of the Hermitage
South Carolina writer Rhyne has taken the Low Country ghostly legend of the unhappy Alice Flagg (1833-1849) and woven a fictional story around it. The lovely, headstrong Alice, fifteen, only surviving daughter of a prosperous rice planter, unfortunately forms an unlikely attachment to Whit Buck, a handsome, strapping, working class lumberman. Much to her wealthy family’s dismay and horror, Alice and Whit become determined to marry. Subterfuge, intrigue, and betrayal follow, as Alice is forcibly removed from Wachesaw Plantation and her lover and placed in an exclusive Charleston boarding school. Although the actual legend is in itself an interesting tale and the author’s research into the region’s history and customs is evident, Rhyne’s story is poorly formed and developed, her characters are cardboard, the alleged romance feels forced, and often dialogue seems to exist just to impart factual information. Because the reader already knows the outcome, Alice’s eventual death of a fever seems anti-climactic. Ultimately, of regional interest only.