After his service in the Civil War, Sergeant John Weldon, haunted and nearly shattered by his experiences on and off the battlefield (which left him with lingering acute pain and a morphine addiction), makes his way to the picturesque new village of Englewood in New Jersey at the invitation of the spirited and welcoming McCullough family. He falls in love with the daughter of the house, fiercely intelligent and compassionate Kate, but he’s traumatized by the war and its aftereffects, and in the course of a long and very satisfyingly complex novel, Morris throws dozens of obstacles in the path of their relationship (including some extremely evocative flashbacks of Weldon’s war memories).
The various members of the McCullough family are portrayed with careful detail and some moments of unexpected humor, but it’s the tortured John Weldon who commands the book; his slow and halting search for personal redemption makes for mesmerizing reading. Recommended.
The Dew That Goes Early Away
The Gilded Age saga of the tumultuous Crenshaw and Weldon families continues! Unwed and pregnant, Thankful Crenshaw comes home and makes a tragic and life-changing decision. She misses the close relationship she once had with her newly religious brother, Buck, who spends his days in the Arizona desert converting drunks and Indians. One drunk, William Weldon, is Buck’s special case and Thankful’s true love. Little does Thankful know that Buck’s religious fervor is fading. A violent encounter in the sandy wilderness brings her brother and William back to Englewood, New Jersey to mourn their lost innocence and lack of personal integrity in the third book of The Tenafly Road Series.