Dreams of Savannah by Roseanna M. White weaves an intriguing tale set at the beginning of the War Between the States.
My Review of Dreams of Savannah
When Phin goes off to war, he does so hoping to come back a hero so he can marry the woman of his dreams. But war is nothing like he imagined it to be or how it is portrayed in stories and it’s the dreams of Delia and home that keep him going. When he’s injured shortly after he joins up, it is the dreams that keep him alive.
Meanwhile, his sweetheart remains in Savannah dreaming of him and spinning great tales about his adventures at sea. But Savannah is changing. As the Union draws closer both Phin and Delia have to decide what they believe in this conflict between the states…and what will happen to them if they are caught pulling for the wrong side.
The Characters in Dreams of Savannah
At the beginning of the story, Phineas was just an idealistic young man who wanted to earn his stripes in the navy so he could win favor in the eyes of the woman he loved. He was also fighting to safeguard a lifestyle he had been born into and probably didn’t think much beyond that.
Delia struck me as a pampered child who was a bit self-absorbed, not in a selfish way, but because she had been sheltered all her life (and because she spent a lot of time in her head making up stories). I loved the fact that Delia was a storyteller, it made her more relatable to me and also showed how stories can be a powerful tool to get people through difficult times.
I loved the romance between those two characters. Delia wanted a romantic hero and though Phin didn’t think he fit the bill, that’s exactly what he was. He understood her heart and because he did, he encouraged her to be the best version of herself she could be. Throughout the the novel, Delia matured as she learned to consider others around her.
There were a number of secondary characters that I loved, especially Salina and Luther. Their interaction with Delia and Phin respectively was directly responsible for the growth of the characters so it was interesting to read a little of their stories.
The Themes in Dreams of Savannah
There were a lot of themes in Dreams of Savannah some of which were more subtle than others. One of the major themes is that we should be careful how we judge others. We look at people and we can only see what’s on the outside or the parts of themselves that they’re willing to show. That may not be the whole, or the true person. It takes a heart in tuned with God’s to truly see the real man.
Both Delia and Phin had to re-evaluate how they judged people. They had to learn to see people a little more like how God sees them instead of what society said about them.
The reader is left to ponder why God hadn’t forbidden slavery? If He was so against it wouldn’t He have made it unlawful for His chose people at least? This is a question I’ve pondered many times before. And while I don’t know why God didn’t outlaw the practice outright, I know it wasn’t His ideal for one nation to be physically subjected to another.
He certainly didn’t condone the mistreatment of anyone. That’s why He gave the Israelites and His followers strict guidelines on how they should treat their slaves. The reminder is there that there will come a time when each person has to answer to their Master in heaven.
Final Thoughts on Dreams of Savannah
This is the first book I’ve read by Roseanna White and I love her writing. She did a great job portraying the views of the slave owners and those who wanted the abolition of slavery. As in every conflict, there are varying shades of grey-things aren’t as stark as they may first appear.
There was a lot of conflict in this book that forced me to think about how appearances can skew our perspective. We look at people and we see the color of their skin, we judge them to be beautiful or not, we make judgements about their social status. We think, if those things are good, then they must be trustworthy and good. But many times we’re wrong. Outer beauty can be a foil for inner ugliness.
About Dreams of Savannah
Cordelia Owens can weave a hopeful dream around anything and is well used to winning the hearts of everyone in Savannah with her whimsy. Even when she receives word that her sweetheart has been lost during a raid on a Yankee vessel, she clings to hope and comes up with many a romantic tale of his eventual homecoming to reassure his mother and sister.
But Phineas Dunn finds nothing redemptive in the first horrors of war. Struggling for months to make it home alive, he returns to Savannah injured and cynical, and all too sure that he is not the hero Cordelia seems determined to make him. Matters of black and white don’t seem so simple anymore to Phin, and despite her best efforts, Delia’s smiles can’t erase all the complications in his life. And when Fort Pulaski falls and the future wavers, they both must decide where the dreams of a new America will take them, and if they will go together.
About Roseanna M. White
Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award-nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.roseannamwhite.com.
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