Author: Steve Wiegenstein
Publisher: Blank Slate Press
Publish Date: April 2012
Source: I received a copy from the publisher. This did not affect my review.
Why You're Reading This Book:
- You're a historical fiction fan.
- You like going off the beaten path.
From Goodreads.com: "With the nation moving toward Civil War, James Turner, a charming, impulsive writer and lecturer, Charlotte, his down-to-earth bride, and Cabot, an idealistic Harvard-educated abolitionist are drawn together in a social experiment deep in the Missouri Ozarks. Inspired by utopian dreams of building a new society, Turner is given a tract of land to found the community of Daybreak. But not everyone involved in the project is a willing partner and being the leader of a farming community out in the middle of nowhere isn't exactly the life Turner envisioned. Charlotte, confronted with the hardships of rural life, must mature in a hurry to deal with the challenges of building the community while facing her husband's betrayals and her growing attraction to Cabot. In turn, Cabot struggles to reconcile his need to leave Daybreak to join the fight against slavery and his desire to stay near the woman he loves. When war finally breaks out, Missouri descends into its uniquely savage brand of conflict in which guerrilla bands terrorize the countryside while Federal troops control the cities, and in which neither side offers or expects quarter. Ultimately, each member of Daybreak must take a stand - both in their political and personal lives."
My Two Cents:
Historical fiction is awesome because it comes in so many different stripes. You have books that take on really famous subjects and turn them in to something new. You have other books that take something that you may not know all that much about and brings it in to a new light. Slant of Light is of the latter type of book. I have not read a whole lot of historical fiction about this time period (the lead up to the Civil War) at all so I really liked this book as it took me to a new and different time period and setting!
I really liked learning about the utopian movement. I thought it was especially interesting to see the juxtaposition between the looming Civil War (a time that was anything but lovely and happy for most Americans) and this idea of a perfect society. The two events could not possibly be any further apart. Not only is there a lot of conflict between all of the different characters (another interesting factor as they are all supposed to be getting along in this utopian society) but there is just a general sense of foreboding, fear, and overshadowing in every single one of the characters' lives. I thought it was especially interesting that the settlement was located in Missouri, which is in very close proximity to Kansas, which played a major role in the outbreak of the Civil War. I do wish we had gotten to learn a little bit more about the tenets of the beliefs of the denizens of Daybreak though.
I really liked the character of Charlotte. She has a lot to contend with. She has a cheating husband (this kind of took me by surprise) and a potential secret lover. I felt bad for her but she definitely seemed to be the type of person that is fully capable of taking care of herself even when she is hurting. There's a lot to admire in that!
Bottom line: Great historical fiction for exploring new times!