IN THE HOPE OF RISING AGAIN

Helen Scully, Author . Penguin Press $23.95 (312p) ISBN 978-1-59420-025-0

From the post–Civil War era to the Great Depression, this gently ambitious debut follows a prominent Alabama family through victory and loss, fortune and privation, birth and death. At the novel's heart is Regina Riant, the beloved daughter of larger-than-life Colonel Riant. As owner of the Mobile Chronicle , he teaches her magnanimity: "Having everything is... a great responsibility. We have to show God how grateful we are by sharing what we have, otherwise God or the robbers will take it away." Regina's four buffoonish brothers, however, see their inheritance less as an honor than as a right, and squander it on half-baked schemes. Charles Morrow, Regina's husband, is equally unfocused and lacking confidence, causing her great frustration: "Sleeping was heaven: being awake with him at times annoyed her." Even as her strong Catholic faith sometimes wavers, the one constant in Regina's life is her mostly colorblind relationship with maid Camilla. Scully's light touch, even when tackling the heaviest subjects, paints a sweeping yet subtle saga; her message of resilience is inspiring while eschewing melodrama. "Everything and everyone would fall in the end, and only in such leveling could one discover everything latent: courage, intelligence, heart—the formula for prevailing." This is an impressive historical novel by an author to watch. Agent, Jim Rutman. 7-city author tour. (July 27)

Reviewed on: 07/05/2004
Release date: 08/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-1-59448-103-1
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