Title: Dreams of Savannah
Author: Roseanna M. White
Major Themes: American Civil War, Historical Fiction, Romance
Synopsis: Though Cordelia has many friends, when one special one disappears out to sea during the Civil War, she struggles to cling to hope that he is still alive.
I’ve been a fan of Roseanna White’s books for quite a while now, and when I saw Dreams of Savannah coming up as a new book, I knew I wanted to read it. I found this story quite interesting, although it didn’t have quite the depth on the history side that I’ve come to expect—but that, I think, is perhaps because this was one of the author’s earlier works, only now being released. However that is, I still enjoyed the book, and am happy to share it with you today!
Cordelia Owens has many dreams for her future—most of whom revolve around one particular young man, Phineas Dunn, who she knows loves her. But when he signs up with the navy, she wonders if life will ever be quite the same again—yet longs and prays for the day when he will return. But when he’s lost out at sea, and there’s little chance for his life, she struggles to stay positive.
Phineas, on the other hand, is still alive . . . but just. And in the intervening weeks, he faces the most serious battle he’s ever had to face before—trying to stay alive. Only thoughts of Delia keep him here, and, eventually, he realizes he must trust in the Lord to help him through. The only trouble—the man who rescued and is nursing him back to health is a black man, but not a slave, who wants to make his way to Phineas’ hometown, where he believes his wife is being held in slavery. Phineas isn’t sure what he thinks about all of this, since he was raised as a master on a plantation. And when things seem to fall to pieces, can his newfound faith support him—even when it looks like he’s even lost his Delia?
I loved reading Dreams of Savannah. Even though it was more focused on romance than I’m used to in most stories, I really enjoyed the characters and the historical setting. I did find it interesting to see White’s growth as a writer in comparing this story to some of the others she’s released recently; apparently, this book was written something like nine years ago, and I can tell that she is a much stronger writer now (such as in her book The Number of Love). But some things that I really enjoy now in her “newer” books were already evident early on—her ability in writing rich characters, her love for history, her desire to show God’s love and care for His people in the stories. They’re all there. I was wanting a sweet, easy read, and that’s what I got.
I was given a review copy of this book, and this is my honest opinion of it.
WARNING: “Thank heavens” and “blasted” or similar variants are used frequently throughout the book. “Dang” is used in ch. 2, “where the devil” in ch. 5, “bad devil spirit” in ch. 10, “to the devil” in ch. 15, “who the devil” in ch. 16, “a devil of a smile” and “why the devil” in ch. 18, “[that] devil” in ch. 23, and “what the devil” in ch. 26. There are mentions fairly frequently that someone cursed or swore or “said some vile words”. There is lying in ch. 18.
Throughout the book, there are mentions of a man touching his love interest on the arm, around her waist, etc. In ch. 1, there’s a kiss—described to some extent. There are other kisses in ch. 17, 20, 22, and 23. Also mentioned once or twice in the first part of the book was the liberties sailors took with women when they went onshore. Not described, but it’s there. A man appreciates the wrong things about a woman in ch. 11 and 18, and tries to force a woman in ch. 22.
Another theme that runs throughout the book is the fact that one of the characters was a daughter of a master and his slave mistress. This is discussed multiple times, generally without much detail, just that it happened. Chapters 16 and 19 have a bit more detail than some.
A man is shot and badly injured and then falls overboard in ch. 5, and struggles to recover in subsequent chapters. A woman slaps a man in ch. 20 and kicks him in 22 after some unappreciated touching. A man is threatened with a gun in ch. 22. A man is punched unconscious in ch. 25, after a brief skirmish.
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults