Overhead The Sun
Excerpts from reviews of Overhead the Sun:
" ....It’s the 1890s, and the whispers of slavery clash with prospects of social reform and the connection of both coasts via railroad. The motor that sets everything in motion is Tom Clayton, the protégé of Yankee industrialist Arthur Wilkins.... Hired more as a gentleman thug than a business partner, Clayton dreams of his own ascent to Southern aristocracy. Countering the lead’s lust for power is his wife Julia.... who refuses to surrender to a life of sullen acceptance.” ....The growling boss man rips through opponents and takes over scenes in fits of red hair and rage. Julia’s voyage is also a compelling focus of righteous resistance to her husband’s demands....
....The author excels with his spectacular action sequences. Not a word is wasted, and the color of every gunshot is vivid and true. Blood is spilled, but Ashworth is more interested in the way the bullet got there than the gore that follows.... when a riot breaks out in the all-black town of Myrtle, a group of influential white men led by Clayton decide the best way to end the conflict is to burn the settlement to the ground. The resulting massacre sets off a chain of events....
....Defending his territory, the young black fisherman Mark Richardson comes across as heroic without being chopped into a series of bloated stereotypes. His role of protector and family man is refreshing amongst a forest of corruption.
....Ashworth was inspired by his research surrounding the 1923 slaughter at Rosewood, Fla., but most every sign of textbook-style fact-spitting is gone... a gripping piece of American storytelling.”
“ ....an engrossing and fascinating historical novel centered in the 1890s when the state was emerging from the aftermath of the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the poor economic decades that followed.... the author presents the reader with fascinating depictions of Florida. He describes its geography in almost poetic detail.... rivers, its heat, its magnolias, various forests of oak, cypress.... pines.... The mix of people who made up the population.... whites, blacks, including aristocrats and crackers, are clearly rendered and add color and authenticity.... The book is a valuable history lesson and a fine contribution to the panorama of Florida."
Prof. Emeritus, U. of Florida
and author of 26 books on the history of the South