A Land Remembered focuses on the fictional story of the MacIveys, who migrated from Georgia into Florida in the mid-19th century. After settling, this family struggles to survive in the harsh environment. First they scratch a living from the land and then learn to round up wild cattle and drive them to Punta Rassa to ship to Cuba. Over three generations, they amass more holdings and money, and move further from their connection to the native, untamed land.
Patrick D. Smith, a multiple award-winning author, was born in Mendenhall, Mississippi, and later moved to Florida in 1966. A Land Remembered is his sixth published novel, following The River Is Home, The Beginning, Forever Island, Allapattah and Angel City.
It is available in both hardcover and trade paperback editions. There is also a two-volume edition for children, which is used in many Florida schools.
The first grown main character. He became rich from cattle herding and later an orange grove. He gets malaria from an attack of several hundred thousand 'skeeters', but is healed (temporarily) by Miami Billie, an Indian medicine man. Died near the end of Zech's piece of the book when he became too weak from the cold to fight his malaria when he tried to save orange trees from a freeze. Is the father of Zech.
Tobias's wife. Her main occupation is cooking for all the men with the help of Pearlie Mae and Glenda. She never complains. Everybody loves her. She dies from a heart attack a few years before Tobias does.
The second generation's main character. He lived a somewhat lonely life away from other children and had two dogs, Nip and Tuck who were killed, and a Marsh Tackie horse named Ishmael. He marries Glenda and has the son Solomon, called Sol. He has an affair with an Indian woman named Tawanda, which results in another son, Toby Cypress. Zech is an experienced gunman and horse rider and kills several bandits. When getting revenge his foot is shot and he is weaker till his death in a horse-riding accident and drowns.
Zech's wife. She seems more of a tomboy in her adulthood and gives birth to two children throughout her life, one of which ends in a miscarriage. Sadly she dies near the end of Zech's life when she's impaled by a bull. Zech shoots the bull out of rage.
The third generation's main character. He lived a sad life of power. After his father's death he became power hungry, wanting to leave a mark with his money and the business his family started. He calls himself "the least of the MacIveys". Eventually he finds Bonnie, a young waitress, and changes. After her death in a hurricane and a reunion with Toby he eventually realizes the destruction his greed has brought upon the land. He goes to Punta Rassa to live his last days. He dies of a heart attack at the end of the book.
Solomon's love interest. She's the daughter of an abusive father and is hired by Solomon as a housewife. The two live together for almost seven years. They finally admit they want to get married as she and Sol are in the roof rafters trying to ride out a hurricane. She is ripped away from Sol and is counted among the 2,000 dead. Sol later dislikes the lake which carried their house away and dikes it.
A black former slave. He is encountered by Tobias after slavery was banned, wearing only a pair of feed sack pants. He had nowhere to go, and was on the run when Tobias' dogs found him hiding in a hole. Tobias hires him. He is a great help in catching cows, since he is much stronger than all the other cattle drovers. He eventually marries a former slave, Pearlie Mae. He leaves later to start a farm, calling himself Skillit MacIvey on the land deed. Skillit only appears two more times in the book: when he returns for Tobias's funeral and when Sol remembers all the people in his life.
A black former slave. Though half his age, she marries Skillit and gives birth to five children.
A hired worker, former town drunk. Bonzo and he began working for Tobias for their first successful mission. Frog is seen as almost a brother to Tobias and he is always a help. He dies from being impaled by the same bull that killed Glenda, and is buried next to Tobias and Emma. As he lies dying, he asks Zech if his gravestone can read "Frog MacIvey" and Zech agrees, claiming he would have done that anyway.
A hired worker, former town drunk. He says little, compared to Frog. He dies from malaria early in the book.
A hired worker that Zech hired to replace Bonzo.
Zech's Seminole Indian mistress. He only sees her three times. The first time when he and his father deliver cows to the Indian village, the second when Zech comes to get two new horses, the third when he visits the village again. When they come to Tobias' funeral, Tawanda's parents inform Zech of her death during childbirth. Zech buys a headstone for her that reads "Tawanda MacIvey, Beloved".
Son of Twanda and Zech. He was ridiculed by the children in his village because of his white father, but was respected by the adults because of his MacIvey blood. When Zech visits the village, the two bond. When he is 15, he sees his father again, now with his other son, Sol, and the two brothers start to bond. Toby later becomes the village chief and has three children with his wife, Minnie. He comes to hate Sol for ruining the forest, and the two avoid contact for almost half a century. He sees Sol again when Sol is about to die, making his peace with his half-brother.