Egrets to the Flames

Barbara Anton, Author . Oceanview $23.95 (301p) ISBN 978-1-933515-11-3

Veteran playwright Anton opens her impassioned debut saga with a flock of egrets inexplicably diving into South Florida sugar cane fires in the early 1980s. James Henry Hampton, the tough-talking but well-intentioned patriarch of the family sugar cane plantation Hampton House, near Belle Glade, feuds with the local environmentalists and cane cutters' union to keep his lucrative enterprise thriving. He struggles to hold together his dysfunctional family, most notably his cokehead son Henny, but takes time out to bed his best friend wife. James Henry's daughter, Melisandra, lives in high style and buys a trophy husband, while his long-suffering wife, Grace, endures it all. The earthy Berlinda is the Hamptons' black housekeeper who delivers timely aid and dispenses family advice. Vivid scenes of harvesting and processing the sugar cane and the hot subtropical setting earn solid marks for Anton, who died in May of this year, and her over-the-top melodrama rages like a field afire. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 08/20/2007
Release date: 11/01/2007
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