This Old World: A Novel of Utopian Dreams and Civil War (Daybreak)

Written by Steve Wiegenstein Steve Wiegenstein Columbia
Review by Bryan Dumas

Set in the Utopian community of Daybreak, This Old World follows the lives of the men who once called this ideal place home, but had to leave to fight in the Civil War, and the women they left behind. When the men return, they find that everything they once held dear is altered by the tides of war. However noble the people of Daybreak aspire to be, they are still burdened with the flaws of humanity. This is a story that highlights the challenges faced by people from all walks of life—Irish, freed black, Utopian idealist, and men who fought for both the North and the South—in a tiny community in the Missouri Ozarks.

Steve Wiegenstein’s characters are written in such a way that they hit close to home. Their hopes, desires, and lusts drip from the pages. The rich details—both character and setting—draw the reader quickly into the book and do not let go until the heartbreaking end. There are enough twists to keep the reader honest, but Wiegenstein does not include them at the expense of a believable story. This is a well-told novel and definitely one to place at the top of your reading stack.

This is the second book set in the community of Daybreak. I have not read Slant of Light prior and did not miss a beat.