A New Dawn Rising by Patricia Marie Budd
iUniverse, Inc. New York 2006, 338p.
A New Dawn Rising is a historical saga revealing one man’s struggle for love and independence. John Connolly, the main protagonist, is a white man who born into slavery attempts to free himself by entering into an agreement with Jacob Barlow, a rich land owner. Ms. Budd tantalizes the reader with the use of flashback providing intermittent vignettes that reveal the vile relationship that exists between the two men. Throughout the novel, John struggles to deal with the dyad that exists between Jacob and himself. Circumstances dictate that Connolly be forced to conceal his true identity from the community he lives in and the woman he loves. His strong devotion to the truths of the Declaration of Independence, that all men are created equal, causes him to be in a conflicted position with his neighbors. A position that forces him to depend on the one man he utterly detests, Jacob Barlow.
A unique novel about slavery in the south, John Connolly is not the stereotypical slave nor does the relationship between Jacob Barlow and himself adhere to the norms of society at the time. The author adds just enough circumstance to entice the reader into wanting more. The book will take the reader through a range of emotions, serving as a cumulative and breathtaking mirror to the world of the south. The characters are intriguing and develop in pace with the plot. The historical setting and the southern dialect help to maintain authenticity. The final twists follow one another in dramatic crescendo.
Submitted by Corene Kozey
University of Regina