Five Star, Sep 2002, 26.95, 315 pp.
In 1864, Joel Devereux returns from Barcelona to Georgia having spent the Civil War overseas. Joel knows his family, especially the patriarch Auguste loathes him for writing an article on emancipating the slaves. Carrying plenty of guilt for exchanging jobs with his sibling who died in combat in his place, Joel looks forward to seeing his beloved “wife” Susannah Goode and formally marrying her this time.
Joel has adventures including rescuing society women while also eluding both sides of the conflict until he reaches Catesville, Georgia where he reunites with Susannah. However, to permanently be together, Joel must find away to keep Auguste out of his life as his father objects to Susannah's background. The prodigal son believes freedom for this couple lies in the solving the recent robbery of the Dahlonga gold stolen from the local branch of the Devereux bank.
THE WAY UPCOUNTRY is an engaging historical fiction novel with enough romance to please fans of both genres. The robbery provides some investigative elements, but not enough to entice the mystery audience. The story line vividly describes the “refuge” of the Georgia Mountains as Sherman is on his way from Chattanooga to Atlanta. The cast is strong and through their actions, especially Joel's, readers obtain a taste of life near the end of the American Civil War a relatively short distance from the front.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner