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In the Hope of Rising Again Hardcover – July 22, 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The (July 22, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594200254
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594200250
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,365,619 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

From the post–Civil War era to the Great Depression, this gently ambitious debut follows a prominent Alabama family through victory and loss, fortune and privation, birth and death. At the novel's heart is Regina Riant, the beloved daughter of larger-than-life Colonel Riant. As owner of the Mobile Chronicle, he teaches her magnanimity: "Having everything is... a great responsibility. We have to show God how grateful we are by sharing what we have, otherwise God or the robbers will take it away." Regina's four buffoonish brothers, however, see their inheritance less as an honor than as a right, and squander it on half-baked schemes. Charles Morrow, Regina's husband, is equally unfocused and lacking confidence, causing her great frustration: "Sleeping was heaven: being awake with him at times annoyed her." Even as her strong Catholic faith sometimes wavers, the one constant in Regina's life is her mostly colorblind relationship with maid Camilla. Scully's light touch, even when tackling the heaviest subjects, paints a sweeping yet subtle saga; her message of resilience is inspiring while eschewing melodrama. "Everything and everyone would fall in the end, and only in such leveling could one discover everything latent: courage, intelligence, heart—the formula for prevailing." This is an impressive historical novel by an author to watch.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Imaginative and enchanting, incisive and engaging, Scully's debut novel is reminiscent of works by the giants of southern fiction. Indeed, the Riants--larger-than-life Colonel Riant, his wife, their four sons, and his daughter, Regina--are the type of doomed, guileless innocents one would expect to encounter in the works of Tennessee Williams rather than from a first-time novelist, yet Scully has admirably created a rich, classic tale of southern families and their inherent survival skills. From the early days of the twentieth century through the Great Depression and beyond, Regina Riant Morrow's life has been a series of triumphs and setbacks. Like that other great southern heroine, Scarlett O'Hara, Regina also endures great losses--her father, her first love, her first child, her husband, her family fortune--but somehow manages to carry on, guided by the wisdom of her servant, Camilla. A tried-and-true scenario, yes, but Scully's sumptuous rendition of life in the Deep South is richly evocative of a place and its people. Carol Haggas
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Lynn Harnett VINE VOICE on August 23, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The heroine of Helen Scully's impressive debut is a conventional daughter of the aristocratic South who possesses a quiet strength, held mostly in reserve. The novel opens with Regina Riant's marriage to Charles Morrow in 1919, after her beloved father's death, and the couple's temporary removal from Mobile, Alabama, to rural Choctaw Bluff, 80 miles away, so that Charles can liquidate some of his lumber business to build them a house in Mobile.

The isolation and boredom soon take their toll on Regina. She craves attention from Charles, but he's increasingly preoccupied, though he tells her nothing, saying only, " `Things might take longer than I originally thought.' ...She had heard him say this so many mornings, her worry evolved into a silent panic she tried to ignore, though not always with success."

Then pregnancy gives her an excuse to send for Camilla, her black maid, who has been with the family for years. With Camilla, as with no one else, she can share her discontent, as well as the long, empty hours.

These first chapters establish Regina as a woman of her time and place. Very much aware of what is expected of her, she presents a confident, cheerful demeanor to her new husband, repressing any doubts. And as the years pass, Regina remains faithful to this ideal and convention of womanhood, a pose that both sustains and hinders her. It gives her a face to present to the world in times of tragedy or embarrassment or consternation, and it leaves her utterly unprepared for her family's financial reversals or her husband's desperation.

As Regina finally escapes back to Mobile (leaving Camilla behind to close up the cabin), the novel drops back in time, to the recent past; her father's long decline, and her own first crucial choice as an adult.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By C. Wilson on October 13, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I'll dispense with the summary of the novel (others have done it justice) and proceed with my impressions. I tend to put fiction works into one of three categories.

There are the greats, the classics. In southern literature, these are typified by the works of William Faulkner and his modern comparable, Cormac McCarthy. These works pierce the heart of human experience and transcend time by painting unforgettable pictures of real people failing and thriving in the face of real hardship. But it is the insights into the soul of humanity that divide the reader's mind distinctly between the time before and after absorbing the works of these masters.

A step down, but only barely, we find authors like John Irving, who offer us brilliant characters in the midst of more plot-driven stories. The prose is more accessible, but not necessarily more pedestrian. We come away from these works as emotionally impacted as entertained. Readers will know of these authors long after they have expired.

And then there's everything else - the works of the Kings, the Grishams, the Clancys, the Koontz, and on and on. Their books are amusement first, literature second. The plot drives the language and the pace. While there is a place for these works in the world of fiction, they are fleeting. There is no point in rereading, for there are countless others to digest. Reading these books is like going to the movies.

So where does Miss Scully's novel fit into this admittedly simplified literary heirarchy? I can confidently say that "In the Hope of Rising Again" is safely exempted from membership in the latter category. Its prose is too pretty, and its characters are too real. The story gives way to the personalities that are revealed skillfully with grace and subtlety.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By James Earl Murdoch on January 14, 2006
Format: Paperback
Helen Scully's "Hope" is an epic slice-of-life novel that spans three generations of a family that you get to know and enjoy.

It starts with Colonel Riant, a man so industrious that he (and his resources), will carry the whole family forward almost for the whole novel. His kindness, goodness, and strength (which found their way into his daughter), also help the family face the trials and tribulations of their lives and times.

I can almost forgive the old Confederate for going around with a walking stick that was partially made from the bone of a Yankee because he was such a loyal family man (a true romantic); he was also a friend to everyone, and he was just plain decent. He is the kind of man us guys would all want to be like (except for that walking stick thing).

This is a family that you can really put your arms around. You are saddened by the fact that the strength of the Colonel does not find a path to his sons and the family fortunes wind down as circumstances take their toll. The Colonel's daughter is such a nice person, such a devout practicing Catholic, routinely going to Mass, but not just that, also opening her home to distant relatives, being such a loyal friend, holding everything together, whatever it takes, no matter what happens.

The story takes place during an age of innocence that is delightful for us to escape to, away from our 911 world if only for as long as it takes for us to read a book. But it is also the time of the Great depression, and this book helps us to live through that along with this family, and to watch them cope through economic disaster, heart wrenching losses, and regular calamities.
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