In 1918, Savannah, Georgia is emerging from shock as the Great War grinds to a close. Bea Dot has just married Ben Ferguson and moved into his spacious home. However, this marriage is no idyll. Bea Dot is pregnant, but Ben beats her until she miscarries. To separate the loveless couple while she recuperates, her influential Aunt Lavinia sends the ailing woman to the rural village of Pineview. There Bea Dot stays with her cousin Nettie, who will soon bear a child.
Then the Spanish influenza appears, leaping from city to town like wildfire. It is especially dangerous for pregnant women, so Pineview’s doctor – Nettie’s husband – sends her and Bea Dot to isolation at Dunaway’s Crossing. With luck, the flu will pass them by. The Crossing is a backwoods store owned by Will Dunaway, who is delivering mail while he recovers from a war injury. As the flu worsens, Will is pressed into duty as a gravedigger, but not before he and Bea Dot fall in love. The couple dare not see each other while Will might carry the flu to Nettie, and what will happen when Bea Dot’s jealous husband discovers where his wayward wife has gone?
Dunaway’s Crossing is a vivid portrayal of an epidemic in a small town poorly equipped to handle it. However, I didn’t feel that I really got to know Bea Dot. The discord between her and Ben is eventually explained, and Bea Dot resolves her battle with him in an intriguing way, but with little mental struggle. I would like to know more about what she thought of her choices. Even so, it’s an entertaining read.