In 1865, the McCleary Plantation is raided by Union soldiers, leaving behind few survivors. When New York historian Mark Patterson receives an invitation to the present-day plantation for unprecedented access to the records of the Rebecca McCleary family, he learns that their past is far more complicated than he imagined. As Mark digs in to his research, the youngest namesake of Rebecca McCleary looks for ways to get closer to him, a fact that does not escape Mark’s fiancée. Through his interactions with the McCleary women, their staff members, and friendly locals, Mark discovers a family history of violence, manipulation, and even an element of the supernatural.
Told in a series of flashbacks, diary entries, and present-day narrative, Southern Rites turns historical fiction on its head. Part fiction, part history, part romance, and part supernatural thriller, this novel has something for everyone.