There was nothing simple
about Eugenia Price.
This best-selling author, often living simultaneously in two centuries while she wrote, was a self-proclaimed "political junkie" who thrived on the energy generated by the heat of political battles.
Typically, she immersed
herself in the national power struggles that set the backdrop for her immensely
popular historical novels, particularly the War for Southern Independence
period, while keenly following our current political frontlines.
Price cited lack of
leadership as the weakness that typified the Antebellum South. "If there
had been a real leader, north or south - Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, or even
John C. Calhoun - the Civil War could have been avoided. Many would have stayed
to work things out but there was no leader," she believed.
"Southerners were so unrealistic, unwilling to negotiate, and the gallant
young officers thought they were invincible. As Robert E. Lee observed, 'They
don't realize the ground is level on the battlefield.' Unfortunately, the South
won the Battle of Manassas and people came out from Washington with their picnic
baskets to watch the spectacle. They had no idea what they were in for."
in Savannah", the fourth and final novel of Price's Savannah quartet, is a
love story set against the politics of slavery as history swept the country
headlong into a war no one could win. Pulling this story together, Miss Price
delved deep into her own anti-slavery roots and came up with a "wider,
deeper greater understanding of both sides of the conflict." She finally
made peace with "her southern people", their emotions, their motives,
the inner workings of their minds. As she listened to their interior dialogue,
Price was able to "come unhooked" from lifelong prejudices held
against white southerners since her childhood in West Virginia.
"Slavery was a way of
life, the backbone of the southern economy," Price explained. "But
there were so many southerners who saw that it would defeat their economy
eventually. The South believed their 'peculiar institution' was the same as
property, rightfully protected by the U. S. Constitution. "
"Stranger in Savannah" the most complex of the Savannah quartet, as
far as history and events go. "It's the first time I've done four books,
and I wasn't finished 'til IT was finished. With a twinkle she added,
"Writing is such a wonderful escape!".
And the secret of this
best-selling author's success? Price confided, "Never forget your readers.
Mine go from 12 years old to the age of ninety." Again the eyes twinkled as
she added, "And I'm simply a good story teller!"