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Alabama Writers' Forum Review: Surviving Savannah

Updated: 2 days ago

"Callahan takes readers through a deep dive into a dark night of the soul. She meets us in the darkness with difficult questions and beautiful suppositions. And, let me tell you, this book is an absolute page turner. As someone who has been to Savannah and had the chance to experience the setting in person, I feel the accuracy of Callahan’s rich descriptions which float off the page." —H. M. Cotton Alabama Writer's Forum

Surviving Savannah

By Patti Callahan

Berkley, 2021

Hardcover: $26.00

Genre: Fiction

Review by H. M. Cotton

Savannah, Georgia is a city filled with so much grace and Southern charm, the type of place with perfectly manicured front lawns and—quite literally—secrets in the attic: the perfect Southern gothic setting. For as much beauty and history as the city has, there’s also a sense of sadness and mystery tucked along its streets.

Patty Callahan’s Surviving Savannah captures the lush and rich setting of Savannah, but doesn’t overlook that the city has a past filled with sorrow and pain. One traumatic event in particular—the tragedy of the steamship Pulaski—provides the backbone of Callahan’s narratives and leaves readers to question, “How will we survive the surviving?”

Built in 1837, the new hadn’t even worn off the Pulaski when it left Savannah harbor on Wednesday, June 13th 1838 bound for an overnight in Charleston, South Carolina with a final destination of Baltimore, Maryland. On board were the finest of Savannah’s society looking to escape the overwhelming temperatures of the Georgia summer for the cooler climes of the north.