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Antebellum Secrets

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I spent over a year of full time research in primary and secondary sources in the history of the American Civil War and the Antebellum South.  I used almost no tertiary sources for the information in the book.  The picture you get of the South here is what is represented in letters and writing from the time period in question.  The incidents are historical, but not necessarily in the specific places mentioned.       

The Question: 

Antebellum asks a unique question:  what would the walls say if they could speak?      

The Characters: 


The Theme: 

I make a place animate.  I give a soul to a place--like the soul of the South.  The soul of Bellefleur is seeking reconciliation in the modern world.  The members of the family that once lived in it are its means of redemption and those most in need of redemption.  Through this, the book becomes the means of reconcilliation of a whole place and people. 


When you step into an old building, what scenes from the past might that building show you?  What words would it want you to know?

Length of Novel:

60,400 words

Keywords and Market Focus:

History, Civil War, Louisiana, The South, Houses, Culture, Past, Antebellum, Mystery; will appeal to anyone interested in historical mystery and Southern history and culture

Antebellum is a unique novel with details not found in usual historic fiction but it is similar in perspective to Dandelion Wine and Something Wicked this Way Comes by Ray Bradbury.


Historical Fiction/Science Fiction/Mystery


What if a house could store up all the living that had gone on inside it and then play it back?  What dramas pathetic and real would leak out of the walls and overwhelm the senses?  If that house had not been seen since a battle near the end of the Civil War, can you imagine the stories the house would play back to you?

Heather Sybil Roberts knew of such a house—it found her.  It was Bellfleur, the plantation house that belonged to her great grandfather.  The summer after she graduated from high school, the house called to her.  All she wanted was to save enough money to go to college.  Lord knows she worked hard enough; she had more jobs than anyone in the whole Parish, but she never seemed to earn enough.  And her father didn’t think much about girls going to college.  If her brother couldn’t complete a year, how could she expect to make it all the way through?

Then the house called her, and it showed her a world she thought was long dead.  Sybil Roberts, Heather’s namesake was the focus of that first visitation and all the others.  Over the too short summer, Heather lived a dual life in 1965 and in the 1860s. 

In the house, Heather saw the passage of Sybil from a happy girl to a young woman weary of war and responsibility.  Heather knew her visits in the house led to a momentous conclusion, but she had no idea what that end would be, and she feared it.

Author's reviewer’s quotes:

“Nothing like it… almost a new type of literature.  A civil war historical mystery set simultaneously in the culture of the past and modern South.”

Deeply moving.  The poignancy of a young woman who is trying to break out of her societal mold fits fantastically with a house that is trying to send a critical message across time.”

“This is the perfect kind of mystery… you can read it for fun and know it touches even deeper mysteries for our time.”

Short descriptive teasers:

Bellfleur, the plantation house, called Heather Sybil Roberts, and in the novel Antebellum, she confronts a fantastic mystery from her family’s past—Bellfleur and Heather’s namesake, Sybil Heather Roberts, have not been seen since the Civil War Battle of Pleasant Hill.

In Bellfleur, Heather lived the passage of Sybil from a happy girl to a young woman weary of war and responsibility—Heather knew her visits in the house led to a momentous conclusion, but she had no idea what that end would be, and she feared it.

Antebellum brings into focus the culture of the South and lays it bare; it contrasts the brighter characteristics and deficiencies and invites the reader to share in a society based in its people, place, and tradition.




  If you are interested in reviewing this novel for publication... Contact the author




  Novels by this Author
       The Second Mission (Available now)
       Centurion   (Available now published by OakTara)
       Aegypt            (Available now published by OakTara)


The Dragon and the Fox


                   (Available now published by OakTara)



The End of Honor       The Fox’s Honor       A Season of Honor 




  L.D. Alford is the author of 41 technical papers published in international journals on flight test, military policy, flight safety, space, and cyberwar.  Technical Writing
  L.D. Alford has been a professional aviator for 28 years.  Aviation Writing

L.D. Alford Aviation Writing Technical Writing Unpublished Novels Writing Links Engineer


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