A rich and riveting tale of love, hardship, and the journey for happiness in the war-torn South.
In New Moon Rising, Eugenia Price gives us a story of faith and courage that follows the struggle of James Gould’s son Horace to find his own place in life. Reaching manhood in the tumultuous years before the Civil War, Horace returns to St. Simons and finds himself disheartened by the intolerance on his beloved island. However, he wins the heart of lovely neighbor Deborah Abbott, who adores her “Mr. Gould” and becomes his wife, despite the difference in their years. She is not concerned with his rumored past, but she is saddened by his lack of faith. Filled with romance, hardship, and adventure, this sequel to Lighthouse vividly portrays the antebellum South while revealing an independent man’s search for happiness.
In 1961 Eugenia Price visited St. Simons Island, Georgia during a book signing tour. In the cemetery for Christ Church, she saw a tombstone for the Reverend Anson Dodge and his two wives. This inspired her to research the area, including history and famous figures. She would spend the remainder of her life writing detailed historical novels set in the American South, many of which were critically acclaimed. Her early works, particularly the St Simons Trilogy -which consists of the books The Beloved Invader (1965), New Moon Rising (1969) and Lighthouse (1972) were extensively researched and based on real people. This is in contrast to her later novels, such as Another Day (1984) and The Waiting Time (1997) which featured her own characters. Other historical novels include her The Georgia Trilogy consisting of Bright Captivity, Where Shadows Go, and Beauty From Ashes. The Florida Trilogy has Don Juan McQueen, Maria, and Margaret’s Story. Then she has a Savannah Quartet with Savannah, To See Your Face Again, Before the Darkness Falls, and Stranger in Savannah.
After moving in 1965 to St. Simons, Georgia with her long-time companion, the writer Joyce Blackburn (who assisted her with research), Eugenia Price became active in many local causes; most of which involved protecting the local environment from the effects of industrialisation.
She died in Brunswick, Georgia on May 28, 1996 of congestive heart failure. She is buried just yards from Anson Dodge and his two wives. Her tombstone reads “After her conversion to Jesus Christ, October 2, 1949, she wrote Light…and eternity and love and all are mine at last.”
New Moon Rising is the second book in Eugenia Price’s St. Simons series. (Read my review of book 1, Lighthouse, HERE.) Set on St. Simons Island, Georgia, in the years leading up to the Civil War, this richly detailed and well-researched novel brings to life the culture, customs and life of the antebellum South. Price was meticulous in her research so the reader can be assured of the accuracy of the novel. My book club leaves tomorrow on a field trip to St. Simons. We are looking forward to seeing all the places we have read about.
New Moon Rising focuses on Horace Gould, the son of James Gould, the builder of the original St. Simons lighthouse. A restless younger son, Horace struggles with finding his place in the world. After years away from the island, he finally comes home and takes his place in the planter’s society. Horace is an interesting character. He is hard-working and sensitive. At the age of 30 he marries a woman half his age to whom he is devoted. His world is one of compromise and contradictions. He runs and then finally owns the family plantation, Blank Banks, and while he hates slavery, he cannot find a way to break with the plantation system. He also firmly believed in the unity of the United States, but fought on the side of the confederacy. His struggle with right and wrong and acting on those principles follows him all of his adult life.
Price wrote this book in a time when books with strong faith messages were published by secular houses. There really was no Christian fiction genre. Price never waters down her beliefs — her faith is seamlessly woven into her stories. Harold Gould was a man who believed in doing things in his own way and in his own strength. In the end, Price depicts him as finally giving control to God.
I enjoyed New Moon Rising. If you like historical fiction, I think you will too.
Audience: older teens to adults.
(I purchased this book for my Kindle. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)
To purchase this book, click on the image below.