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“The only home he has ever wanted is a place he has never been – the place of his mother’s birth…and of his father’s remembered dreams.”

4.0 out of 5 stars With both his parents and the beloved aunt who raised him dead, Mark Browning decides to leave Philadelphia and start a new life in his mother’s hometown of Savannah, Georgia. Mark meets Robert Mackay on the voyage and an instant friendship is born, and Robert and his wife Eliza take Mark into their home where he’s treated as one of the family. Despite the great wealth he has inherited from his father’s shipping business, Mark wants to make his own path in the world and accepts a position in Robert’s mercantile business. 

Everything seems to go well, except for the mystery swirling around his mother – why is it that no one in Savannah society recalls his mother? Just how does the creepy Osmund Kott fit into this mystery? What is the hold Kott has over elderly plantation owner Jonathan Cameron? 

As happy as Mark is with the Mackay family, there is also grief for him as well as he finds himself torn between his secret love for Robert’s wife Eliza as well as his physical attraction to Cameron’s beautiful granddaughter Caroline. Will Mark ever see the forest through the trees and realize who is the right woman for him?

I blew through this 600 page chunkster in a couple of days but I have to warn you – this is not going to be the book for everyone. This story is about people and family in their daily lives, and the conflicts that come with it – and religion plays a huge role in most of their lives. No, it isn’t preachy but it is prevalent at times and readers who don’t care for that should probably stay away, as well as those who need constant non-stop page-turning action. This is the first of four books Price wrote on the Browning family, and I believe takes them through the Civil War and its aftermath.  She’s also written some other novels on Georgia and Florida, which you can read about here on Fantastic Fiction’s website. The Browning family is fictional, but according to the author’s notes at the end many of the characters in her book (including the Mackays) did exist, as did many of the homes and other locales mentioned in the book.

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