Cabbages and Kings Press

a novel of antebellum South Carolina

Charged with subtle period detail and boasting fully developed characters, Allen's work is sharp, smart, and well focused.

                                --Publisher’s Weekly

Buy Beaufort 1849 from Amazon, B&NKobo, or ask for it at your local bookstore. $13.95 paperback; $6.99 ebook.

In South Carolina, find it at:

McIntosh Book Shoppe, Beaufort

Beaufort Bookstore, Beaufort

Barnes and Noble, Hilton Head Island

Indigo Books, Johns Island

Blue Bicycle Books, Charleston

Fiction Addiction, Greenville.

After years abroad, Jasper Wainwright returns to Beaufort, South Carolina, home of his unruly youth. Slavery and Sea Island cotton have made this summer seat of plantation owners one of the wealthiest and most cultured cities in America . . . and also the most hotheaded, secessionist city in the South.

Jasper’s cousin, Henry Birch, wants him to marry his niece, Cara, a pianist and the prettiest girl in the county. Believing slavery doomed, Jasper has no desire to settle in the South again and so resists both Henry’s matchmaking and his growing fascination with Cara. Then anonymous letters in The Charleston Courier give Jasper an inkling that maybe the South could change.

Though his freed slave, Jim, who travels with him, is antsy to leave, Jasper lingers in Beaufort. Amid a whirl of parties, waltzes and duels, Cara is never far from his eyes or his thoughts. As cries for secession grow louder, Jasper works desperately to convince Beaufort planters that gradual emancipation and transition to a wage-based economy could avert the coming storm of war. Will Beaufort be another Pompeii, its civilization disappearing in a cataclysm it refuses to foresee?

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“Allen envelops us in the antebellum South, weaving together a story full of evocative detail and compelling characters. With an ear of a poet, she reminds us that history is an intriguing stew in which evidence, memory and the imagined are all stirred endlessly together. If you must put it down, you will long to return as quickly as possible, a measure of a novel beautifully spun.”                       

                                    —Susan Gevirtz, author of AERODROME ORION & Starry Messenger

“In this lively historical novel, set in Beaufort, S.C., at the apex of the town's antebellum period, prodigal son Jasper Wainwright returns to his family plantation after 12 years abroad to educate his kin about the evils of slavery. When he left Beaufort for Harvard University and world travel, Jasper was known as a hellion, savage drinker, and frequent duelist. Returning now—with an education and in the company of emancipated slave Spit Jim—to visit his cousin, Henry, at the lovely Villa D'Este, Jasper is stunned that Henry's niece, Cara Randall, is no longer the child he remembers, but a poised, intelligent, self-taught young woman keen to expand her mind and horizons. Having rejected numerous local suitors, Cara has no intention of marrying, and Jasper—widowed after a disastrous marriage—vows never to make the same mistake again. But both will be proven wrong, if the matchmaking Henry has his way. Cara is a singular, independent female in a culture of aristocratic entitlement, and she and Jasper aim to change the town's brutal system of slavery and bigotry in their own, converging ways. Charged with subtle period detail and boasting fully developed characters, Allen's work is sharp, smart, and well focused.”         

                                        —Publisher’s Weekly

“Karen Allen has chosen a wonderful historical topic and from it has created a novel that is intelligent, interesting and engaging.”

                                —Byron Hollinshead, editor of I Wish I’d Been There: Twenty Historians Bring Life to the Dramatic Events That Changed America