Savannah to Sweetwater
Doris Staton English
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Sweetwater Legacy is the story of Rachel, a true daughter of the South who clings with tenacious myopia to the land and the system that supports it and Andrew Meredith, the handsome, rich shipping magnate and plantation owner who loves her. Rachel's misplaced devotion to life as she has always known it blinds her to truth and enslaves her, causing her to spurn the love and assistance from Andrew who longs to rescue her and set her free from the bitterness that shackles her The story takes place in the cataclysmic year in their lives and the life of the nation on the eve of the presidential election of 1860. When conviction grips Meredith's heart of the inherent evil undergirding the system that both he and Rachel love, he must choose between what is expedient and what is right. In choosing he risks alienating the woman he loves. Further complicating their relationship is Andrew's mysterious attachment to the exquisite golden skinned woman of color, Daphne. A product of the darkest side of slavery Andrew frees her and elevates her above her people by position, privilege and freedom. She struggles to find acceptance in an alien world. Neither black nor white, she rejects and is rejected by one world, yet is refused entrance into the other. Clinging to the only world she knows, she binds herself as surely as if she were still in bondage. Reflecting the conflict between Andrew and Rachel were national politics torn asunder by the slavery issue. The burning question in Georgia became which mattered more, saving the union or preserving the traditional southern way of life, and thus the system which under girded it. As the election of Abraham Lincoln and the possibility of the Republican Party gaining national control threatened, the activities of the Georgia unionists and secessionists reached a frenetic pace. Each faction attempted to garner support for the coming confrontation that would decided their future. On January 16, 1861 when Georgia exited the Union, the decision had not come without heated and sometimes even violent controversy. Sweetwater Legacy captures the feel and the action of the times. The way these two come to terms with each other and the end of an era creates a vibrant love as well as poignant commentary of the times as seen through the lives of the characters in the story.