Steven Fox arrives in New Orleans in 1825, broke and friendless.
By his gambling and his good looks, he makes a fortune and buys land, working along side his slaves to make it prosper.
The Foxes of Harrow by Frank Yerby
Dial Press, 1946. 408 p. 1946 bestseller #6. My grade: C-.
Before long Harrow is the greatest plantation in Louisiana, its manor house a gem on the Mississippi.
Steven marries Odalie Orceneaux by whom he has two children.
After her death he marries her sister, Aurore.
And on the side he has a quadroon mistress.
As Harrow grows more prosperous and influential, the South prepares for war. Steven lays aside his anti-secession principles to fight for the South.
In the introduction to The Foxes of Harrow, Frank Yerby makes the glory and ruin of Harrow Plantation almost palpable, but the story never lives up to its setting.
Yerby starts out writing about people in the pre-Civil War South, and ends up writing an historical novel about the South.
The characters, too, are not consistent.
Initially conniving, thieving, self-centered, and cruel, Steven magically becomes loyal, generous, and statesmanlike by the book’s end.
The best thing to be said for The Foxes of Harrow is that it’s better than its sequels.
But it’s no Gone With the Wind.
© 2016 Linda Gorton Aragoni