This is such a powerful and amazing book. I had to use two quotes from the book itself in order to do this author’s work justice. This is an Editor’s Choice for the May edition of Historical Novels Review.
It is 1947, and Minister Peters is getting ready to board a train called The Dawn Lightning in South Carolina. Despite his name, he is not a minister. He is headed out of the South and towards a new life. Minister’s family was once enslaved and has experienced generations of loss. This continues in Minister’s life. Having lost his wife to unfaithfulness and murder, and then his daughter to drowning, Minister wants to take that train to the end of the line and leave the South behind for good. He meets three other passengers on the train. Carvall is a soldier who has just gotten out of the Army. Divinion and Lanah are a couple with questionable motives. These four lives interact in such a way that Minister will never be the same again.
Stacy D. Flood has a rare talent for writing scenes that stay with you and a unique ability to create lasting pictures in your mind. Even something many people have done, like leaving home, becomes extraordinary: “For those I’d left behind I knew my voice was only a memory, and I knew that this place, my home, would forget about the rest of me as soon as my shoes left the pebbles beneath them.” His description of nature brings it alive. “Further out in the water appeared the silhouettes of two children, a boy and a girl, holding hands, but as I passed by, gaping, I recognized them as simple tree trunks. Not ghosts, not observers or judges or the abandoned or the lost.” The scenes from this book vividly explode in your mind, and the writing evokes powerful emotion. This work is special. I highly recommend this novella to anyone who wants to read the work of a talented author.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, Lanternfish Press, via The Historical Novel Society. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Originally from Buffalo, and currently living in Seattle, Stacy D. Flood’s work has been published nationally and performed on stages nationwide as well as in the Puget Sound Area. He has been a DISQUIET scholar in Lisbon, an artist-in-residence at The Millay Colony of the Arts, and the recipient of a Getty Fellowship to the Squaw Valley Community of Writers