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Patrick D. Smith's best-selling historical novel A Land Remembered is set during Florida's pioneer days and spans from 1858 to 1968. The novel tells of the MacIvey family, whose patriarch was Tobias MacIvey. Tobias moved the family from the state of Georgia to Florida, after having failed to farm 40 acres of red Georgian clay he owned, just prior to the American Civil War.
Tobias settled with his wife Emma and son Zech in Florida's forest region called "scrub country." Food is at first scarce and depends on what Tobias can successfully hunt until one day the family's luck turns when Tobias finds a cow stranded in a swamp. Tobias brings it home and builds a pen for it; he also hopes to find more cows and to sell them. Tobias's cattle stock begins to grow under the advice of his friend Keith Tiger, a Seminole Indian, who instructs Tobias on fattening the cows for market, and with the help of Skillit, a former slave Tobias meets after the Civil War, who is on the run from Tallahassee to escape the Klu Klux Klan. Tobias then begins driving his cattle to market in Punta Rassa.
The cattle ranch is passed down to Zech when he marries Glenda. However, Zech also carries on an affair with a Seminole Indian named Tawanda Cypress. Both Glenda and Tawanda give Zech a son; the son shared with Glenda is named Solomon, Sol for short, while the son shared with Tawanda is named Toby Cypress.
After his parents die, Zech fully inherits both the cattle ranch and young orange groves his father had just begun. Zech becomes wealthy enough to buy thousands of acres for both cattle grazing and preserving. When both Zech and Glenda die in accidents, Sol inherits the businesses, but Sol moves to Miami where he starts businesses in real estate and produce and even starts a bank. In contrast, Toby Cypress takes up his father's task of land preservation for Seminole Indians and the wildlife. Though Sol at first doesn't understand the importance of land preservation, his perspective changes when he sees his own land being destroyed by the greed of others. By the end of his life, Sol and Toby Cypress together have created nature preserves in southern Florida.
A Land Remembered is a historical fiction story that takes place in Florida. The book follows the MacIveys and their journey over three generations (~100 years). The story begins with the Tobias MacIvey, the main character in the first generation. Tobias, his wife Emma, and son Zech, try to adapt to their new environment. They make a living by rounding up and selling cattle. Zech, the second generation's main character, marries a girl named Glenda, but has an affair with an Indian named Tawanda. He has a son named Sol with Glenda, and a son named Toby with Tawanda. Sol becomes the third generation's main character. When his parents die, Sol is put in charge of the cattle business, which has become prosperous under Zech. He instead establishes a produce company. However, Sol's greediness with money changes when he meets his love interest, Bonnie. Sol also reunites with his half brother Toby. Toby ends up hating Sol for ruining the preserve, but upon their reunion, Sol comes to terms with how his greed destroyed the land. The two make peace.
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