A Dream of Daring.

Author:Siano, Maria
Position:Book review

Gen LaGreca (author); A DREAM OF DARING; Winged Victory Press (Fiction: Historical) 16.95 ISBN: 9780974457963

Byline: Maria Siano

In the antebellum South, inventor Tom Edmunton believes his new machine will change the lives of all in the region.

This engaging second novel, by Gen LaGreca (she was a finalist for ForeWord's Book of the Year awards for her first, Noble Vision), opens with Tom, who recently returned to Louisiana after living in the North for many years. He's attending the funeral of Polly Barnwell, a plantation owner and the sister-in-law of Senator Wiley Barnwell. Polly left the senator her plantation, Crossroads. Tom, who is courting Barnwell's daughter, Rachel, intends to unveil his new invention, an engine-powered tractor, to Wiley after the funeral, and hopes he will be among his first customers. Tom envisions the tractor ushering in a new age that will make farming easier, and with slaves no longer needed, allowing them to finally be free to regain control over their own lives.

However, when Tom shows the senator and Ted Cooper, another potential customer, the invention, they are not convinced of its usefulness to farmers. They also see no benefit in freeing the slaves, as they believe they provide them a better living than Yankee wage earners. A few hours after showing the men his invention, the tractor goes missing and Wiley is found dead. Cooper is the primary suspect.

Throughout the narrative, LaGreca masterfully creates metaphors to explore her key themes. "Crossroads" becomes suggestive of many things: The region is at a crossroads, on the verge of the Civil War; slavery is about to...

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