Yankee Reconstructed

Written by Carolyn P. Schriber
Review by Richard Tearle

This is the second book in the author’s Grenville Saga which traces the fortunes of the Grenville family in South Carolina. In this volume, the Civil War is over, slaves have been freed and the State is negotiating with the Union for its entry. Jonathan Grenville is a schoolteacher with a dream of teaching both black and white students on an equal basis and his wife, Susan, comes from the rich Dubois family who hold many properties. Hector Moreau is their former slave and now determined to help the black cause. Jonathan and Susan have seven children, who have either left home or of an age when they can do so, especially Mary Sue who has her own dream of breeding horses.

Lurking in the background is the presence of the Ku Klux Klan, who see Jonathan as a black sympathiser, and the constant threat of violence in the run up to state elections.

The story promises much, but the problems which beset the family are overcome too easily and too quickly to create the climax of real conflict; the threat of the Klan fizzles out without achieving anything much, and the characters were a little stereotyped. Ms Schriber writes very well, but the story rides along nicely with everybody getting what they want without too much hassle – no ‘bad ass’ characters to create any page-turning conflict.

Nevertheless, readers who like this particular phase of American history, and who enjoy a comfortable ‘homely’ feel to a novel will very much appreciate this one.