A seamless blend of keen imagination, meticulous research, and narrative artistry chronicling the richness and turbulence of life on Georgia's St. Simons Island at the end of the War of 1812. The first volume of The Georgia Trilogy, it's a captivating saga of friendship, loyalty, and love.
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Eugenia Price, 79, Romance Novelist, Dies
By Robert McG. Thomas Jr., May 30, 1996, The New York Times
Eugenia Price, who turned a chance visit to coastal Georgia into a career as the South's most popular writer of antebellum romantic fiction, died on Tuesday at a hospital in Brunswick, Ga., not far from her home in St. Simons, the island she made famous through a series of novels. She was 79.
Her companion, Joyce Blackburn, said the cause was congestive heart failure.
Her hoop-skirted heroines tended to be too unremittingly beautiful, her handsome heroes a shade too dashing and their problems a bit too easily solved for Ms. Price to have won serious literary acclaim. But then again, how many acclaimed authors sell more than 40 million books in 18 languages?
That Ms. Price did just that was a tribute both to her ability as a storyteller and her knack for recreating a bygone era with such compelling and authentic historic detail that, according to the St. Simons's Chamber of Commerce, a substantial majority of the thousands of tourists who visit the island each year come there specifically to scout out the houses, marshes and other locales she used in her novels, not to mention the headstones of the actual people she brought back to life as fictional characters.
Ms. Price, a dentist's daughter from Charleston, W.Va., was a precocious student who entered Ohio University at 16 and later studied dentistry at Northwestern University before dropping out of school to pursue a writing career.
Those familiar with the intensely romantic themes of her fiction would not be surprised that she began her career writing soap operas, initially in Chicago and later in New York and Cincinnati, the headquarters of Procter & Gamble.
An intense conversion to Christianity in the late 1940's altered the course of her life and of her writing. Abandoning soap operas, she began turning out inspirational books -- among them Discoveries, Beloved World, and The Eugenia Price Treasury of Faith -- that won her a wide following long before she turned to fiction.Indeed, it was while on a tour in 1960 to promote one of her two dozen inspirational titles that she and Ms. Blackburn, who had been living in Chicago, happened to stop off in St. Simons and were so enchanted by the beauty and ambiance of the place that they decided they never wanted to leave.It was a measure of their immediate and intense devotion to the island that the two women bought cemetery plots there before they built the house they named Dodge after the real St. Simons clergyman who, with his two wives, became the focus of Ms. Price's first novels, Lighthouse, New Moon Rising, and Beloved Invader.
Those books were such a succcess that she wrote a Florida Trilogy and a Savannah Quartet before a turning out a final Georgia Trilogy, whose return to the familiar St. Simons settings helped propel the first book of the final series, Bright Captivity (1991), to The New York Times best-seller list. The third, Beauty from Ashes (1995), was also a best seller. Her last book, The Waiting Time, is to be published next year by Doubleday.
Ms. Blackburn, a writer who subsumed her own career to serve as Ms. Price's live-in editor, is her only survivor.From Publishers Weekly:
Legions of fans will undoubtedly welcome another warm historical saga from Price ( Stranger in Savannah ). In this first volume of a projected trilogy, she chronicles a passionate (yet decorous) romance, basing her characters on real persons. Anne Couper is celebrating her 18th birthday when the British capture St. Simon's Island, Ga., during the War of 1812. She and a group of her houseguests are held in a far from onerous captivity, and Anne and handsome Lt. John Fraser of the Royal Marines fall in love. Their courtship and marriage create numerous conflicts. Should John accept Anne's father's generous offer of a plantation on St. Simon's Island? Can he, the consummate soldier, regain his commission after the war and rejoin his regiment? The young couple is given counsel and love from a host of agreeable family members and friends, including Anne's distant cousin, a Scottish lord, and his friend author Walter Scott. Anne and John, at times colorless, are far too well bred to display conflict or excitement, yet the book springs to life in its descriptions both of the lush landscape of a Georgia plantation and the wild, primitive highlands of Scotland. 150,000 first printing; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club selections.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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