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Historical Fiction Review    



In The Hope of Rising Again
By Helen Scully
The Penguin Press, 2004
Hardcover, $23.95 (312 pages)
ISBN: 1-59420-025-4

Set in Mobile, Alabama, in the years following the Civil War through the Depression, Helen Scully's In The Hope of Rising Again, is the story of the Riants, the Morrows, and the ways in which their family life and social circle intertwine and intersect. 

Regina Morrow, daughter of a Confederate veteran, is a source of contention between her parents. Her mother, also named Regina, intended to name her Angela Mary; instead, her father named her Regina Angela. While her mother suspects the Colonel named the child for his first wife, who was also named Regina, she can't prove it. While Colonel Riant dotes on his daughter, Mother Riant becomes more detached from the child, spending her emotional energy on her four sons. 

As a young woman, Regina makes a jailbreak marriage. Where her father was powerful, Charles Morrow, her husband is weak. Where her father couldn't be broken by war or a loveless marriage, her husband is constitutionally unstable.  

While In the Hope of Rising Again is a period piece, the problems Regina faces are those of the contemporary woman "sandwiched" by the needs of her children and aging parent. Regina's family faces financial ruin, her mother's in bad health, her brothers behave badly, and the family questions the Catholic faith they've inherited. Scully's writing is first rate. 

Born in Norfolk, Virginia, Helen Scully attended Brown University, and now lives in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Pam Kingsbury
Southern Scribe Reviews

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