Inheritance (Southern Son – The Saga of Doc Holliday: Book 1) by Victoria Wilcox – Book Review

I received a free e-copy of Inheritance from the publisher for my honest review.

About the Book:

The name Doc Holliday conjures images of the Wild West and the shootout at the OK Corral, but before he was a Western legend he was a Southern son, born in the last days of the Old South with family links to the author of Gone with the Wind.  Now this amazing story is told for the first time in a trilogy of novels entitled Southern Son: The Saga of Doc Holliday.
    
The story begins with Inheritance, set during the turbulent times of the American Civil War, as young John Henry Holliday welcomes home his heroic father and learns a terrible secret about his beloved mother. His only confidant is his cousin Mattie, his childhood sweetheart who shares his memories of plantation life and better days before the War.  But Mattie isn’t around to comfort him when tragedy strikes and John Henry’s young hero-worship turns to bitter anger.   

As the Confederacy falls, John Henry becomes a troubled teenager and joins in with a gang of vigilantes trying to chase the Reconstruction Yankees out of their small Georgia town. But when a murderous plot brings threats of military prison, he vows to change his reckless ways and leaves Georgia to attend dental school in Philadelphia, hoping to come home as a respected professional man worthy of asking for his cousin Mattie’s hand.

However, when he returns from two years in the North to begin dental practice in Atlanta, he finds his courtship beset with challenges. There are family intrigues, lies and revelations, rivals for Mattie’s affections, and a violent encounter that changes everything.

Inheritance is the first novel in an epic tale of heroes and villains, dreams lost and found, families broken and reconciled, of sin and recompense and the redeeming power of love.


About the Author:

Victoria Wilcox was born in California to a pioneer Hollywood film industry family and grew up loving dramatic stories of all kinds, especially those with a sense of history. As a young woman she developed a passion for the stories of royal families found in English historical fiction, and felt certain she was descended from King Arthur himself and destined to discover the historic Camelot. So she began her college career as a Medieval English History major – admittedly a narrow field in American academia – before receiving a degree in English Literature and doing graduate work in Playwriting. In her professional life she has been a teacher of English and composition on the college level and worked as a technical writer and instructional designer for industry and universities.

A move to Atlanta, Georgia inspired a love of all things Southern and introduced her to a project that would fill the next few years of her life: the white-columned Greek Revival home built by the uncle of the legendary Doc Holliday in the last days before the Civil War. Although the Holliday House was one of Georgia’s only remaining unrestored antebellum homes it was slated to be torn down and replaced by a parking lot, so Wilcox founded a non-profit organization to save it and turn it into a museum site. It was while researching the history of the house and its former owners that she discovered the untold story that led to Southern Son: The Saga of Doc Holliday.

Victoria Wilcox is a member of the Western Writers of America, with her writing on the history of the Old South and the Wild West featured in such publications as TrueWest Magazine, North Georgia Journal, and the Atlanta Journal Constitution. As Founding Director of the HollidayDorsey-Fife House Museum she has lectured extensively and been a guest on various television programs. Drawing on her lifelong love of music and theater, she has written songs for Nashville recording artists and authored the musical Goin’ to Zion! along with numerous smaller theatrical works. To celebrate the upcoming release of the first book of Southern Son: The Saga of Doc Holliday, she began a national speaking tour last fall with a return to Tombstone, Arizona, site of Doc Holliday’s legendary gunfight at the OK Corral.

My Opinion:

I knew next to nothing about Doc (John Henry) Holliday until I read last year’s fantastic book Doc by Mary Doria Russell. If I had not read that book I would not have been interested in reading this one. Learning about the man behind the legend was fascinating. Inheritance is the first of a three book series detailing the man.  This volume deals with his life from his early years through his run West after he commits a very reckless act.

His early life was dominated by an overbearing father and a sick mother. She had what they called consumption but what was really tuberculosis. (This is where he was infected but they didn’t know at the time how contagious it was or how it was transmitted.)   John Henry was heavily influenced by his uncle, a doctor, so he at first looked to go to medical school but found himself working for a dentist and found he had an aptitude for the fine work involved so he decided to push for the dental college in Philadelphia despite his father’s objections.

His father saw him as nothing short of useless and treated him as nothing more than free labor. Nothing John Henry could do would be good enough. His father also saw any kind of illness as weakness and felt that a person could fight it instead of giving in to so this was instilled into John Henry’s thinking – much to his future detriment.

John Henry spent his adolescence in love with his cousin, Mattie. He did everything for her; to provide for their future together. When she ultimately refuses his proposal it rocks his world and drives him to an act that will change his life very dramatically.

This is a very detailed and fascinating book about a truly complex man. Most of us know Doc Holliday as the man from Tombstone and the OK Corral. I had no idea of his backstory until my reading of that first book and now this far more in depth second novel. Ms. Wilcox obviously did significant research to present a story so detailed and so interesting. It is full of anecdotes both simple and complex expounding on the life of this very complicated character. So much went into the man who became the legend and it is a very compelling read. I can’t wait for the next two books in the trilogy even though I know exactly how it will end.

The writing style is easy to read and the characters and very well developed leading the reader into a complex, antebellum South.

Rating:
5

You can read an excerpt of Inheritance

You can purchase Inheritance at Amazon.com

Disclosure:  I received a free e-copy of Inheritance from the publisher for my honest review. I received no compensation for this post.

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