I found Seeds Of Magnolia by Bill Miller a delightful read. I read the synopsis and immediately decided to purchase it. I have always loved Civil War Era history and romances. This book promised both. I expected a fictional historical account of real people not unlike a John Jakes or Alexandria Ripley novel. This novel delivered so much more.
I was not sure when I started reading how I liked the way it was written, as there is no dialog. Mr. Miller used what I would equate to a police report style in writing this story. Once I got used to his writing style I was hooked. The characters are all real and lived in the real settings of the antebellum south, western Tennessee and Mississippi in particular. As I continued, I realized this story is about the author’s ancestors. The more you read the more you will appreciate the exhaustive research Mr. Miller put into this narrative. While he doesn’t divulge his sources, I expect he used letters, journals, and newspaper accounts from this time period in his research. A lot of work went into the writing of Seeds Of Magnolia.
The story shows the races can co-exist in relative harmony if we are open minded. The amazing thing is children don’t see color like adults and therefore have no prejudices. We follow several of the children from adolescents into adulthood. We see how different people viewed slavery depending on how you were raised and what side of the blanket you were born. The story was very thought provoking and it changed how I view that period in history. I hope more readers will pick this up and decide for yourself. Are we really different from each other just because of color of skin, ethnic background, religion, or culture? No, we are all just humans and we need to start looking at each other as other humans, no more, no less.
I highly recommend this book to everyone. It is not just a story, it is real characters living in a difficult time period. We can all learn from their mistakes and failings and learn to live better. I look forward to more work by author Bill Miller.