Sunrise is the first book in a historical fiction trilogy. This first installment focuses on Anne and William Johnston from Macon, Georgia, starting in 1849 and moving through the Civil War and Reconstruction. Unlike many Southerners during this time, Johnston made his fortune in through the railroads and banking. He also played a significant role in the Confederate Treasury Department during the Civil War. Anne was a Cinderella character of sorts. Anne's mother died when she was young, her father when she was 19. And while her stepmother, also her aunt, wasn't cruel, Anne still felt on the outside of things. When William Johnston asked her to marry him, she wasn't in love with him, but she agreed nonetheless. The two managed to find a great love for each other, and this book centers around their lives, their families and their close friends.
I am a sucker for historical fiction, and especially that which takes place during the United States' Civil War. There is something about this time period that always manages to suck me right in.
The characters that populate this book are fascinating people, but what I found while reading was that I wanted more. I wanted more dialogue and I definitely wanted more detail. There is very little dialogue in the novel and I believe what is there was drawn from actual letters. I think this book would have been sensational if Cook would have taken what actually existed and developed it according to her imagination and what she knew about the actual people. So much of who a character is grows from their interactions and conversations with those around them, especially when relationships are as important as they are in the lives of these people.
There were many times when I would start to grow excited about something that was going on. I would be waiting for more detail to come along and then the plot would jump ahead a couple months or a year or so. I would continually think, "but I want to know more!" The lack of detail and dialogue prevented the characters from having much dimension. And they had so much potential. I believe that because I never desired to just give up on the book. I still wanted to find out what happened with everyone.
So, overall, it was a quick read, but it definitely left me wanting more from the book. I found a lot of what was there to be superficial, and I think that's because it just seems to magically happen. Very little of the development leading up to actions is present making it harder to believe it's genuine.