George W. Ramphrey is a masterful Southern storyteller who will have readers laughing, crying and cringing at times in his latest book “Dream on a Hill” Visions in Black and Gold. He creates an entertaining story of David Lee, an incorrigible child, who faces many challenges and predicaments growing up in the Mississippi Delta. The music, styles, and culture of the Golden Age of the Fifties are vividly portrayed in an entertaining and comprehensive fashion. The author has successfully captured the spirit of the Decade of the Fifties in this delightful book. However, life in the cotton patch was not always idyllic in that the family faced obstacles, and hardships. “Dream on a Hill” Visions in Black and Gold is the chronological first installment of the “On the Hill Trilogy” and is followed by “Song on a Hill” Traces of Black and Blue and “Promise on a Hill” Draped in Black and White. All three novels are strong and stand on their own merits.
“Promise on a Hill” is a touching story about the emotional plight of a Southern family. David Lee and family are fleeing from their abusive stepfather Mitch. The novel takes place in Mississippi in the 1960's. Experience the adventures and heartbreaks associated with the family as they attempt to flee from domestic violence. David Lee gains insight from a personal and religious perspective as he is tested by challenges and hardships. Many questions will have to be answered: Will Evelyn return to the abusive hands of husband Mitch? Will David Lee and Ronnie return to their friends and beloved Vicksburg? Will the family escape from the stronghold of Mitch? At what costs? Will the promise of tomorrow, hang in the balance?
"Song on a Hill is a poignant fictional story that deals with the trials and tribulations of a young boy growing up in Vicksburg, Mississippi, in the summer of 1962. The story involves the main character, David Lee, and his diverse and exciting exploits shared by both his family and friends. David Lee's cherished and meaningful relationships with family and friends are well defined and clearly developed. Southern life is vividly portrayed through descriptions of breath-taking scenery, characterizations of Southern culture and customs, and interesting Civil War historical facts and aspersions. The story is complicated by the recent marriage of David's mother, Evelyn, to the overbearing, Mitch, who becomes physically and mentally abusive to the family. David Lee's brother Ronnie frequently sings from a hill in an anguished but beautiful voice that reflects the family's suffering at the hands of the domineering Mitch. Agony and pain are strongly evident as the boundaries of the human spirit are tested. Is the destiny of this dysfunctional Southern family doomed from the beginning or is the answer riding in the wind from a song on a hill? The sequence of events and action flows fluidly and achieves smooth transition and chapter continuity. The story can be read on many different levels because there are many instances of symbolism. This book would appeal to bullied or abused victims as well as to aficionados of 1960's nostalgia. Also, there are many religious overtones as the main character has a strong faith in God. Readers interested in being fully affected by the joys and sorrows of the challenges of life by the plight of the human condition. The author, George Ramphrey, resided in Vicksburg, Mississippi in the decade of the 1960's. This accounts for his strong familiarity with the people, places, and customs of Vicksburg, Mississippi. Also, he was a teacher of History for 29 years in Mississippi and Texas. He was the recipient of the ,"Most Creative" Student Award , from the English Department at Hinds Junior College in Raymond, Mississippi, in 1970. He published works at Mississippi College as an undergraduate student. He received his Doctoral Degree from The University of Mississippi in 1984.
The novel is set in the early 1980’s in New Orleans, Louisiana. Frank Robinette, a divorced high school teacher, is blessed with good looks, charm and intelligence. He’s the product of a wealthy family, but opts for a life of secrecy and a bohemian lifestyle. He’s the father of twin daughters who’s quite a lady’s man and scholar. He’s frequently shadowed by fellow teacher Harry Schroeder who lives vicariously through his love conquests. After years of philandering, Frank falls in love with vivacious Janelle Richard a gifted artist and teacher. She’s unhappily married to Adam Stone, a powerful New Orleans Attorney. Frank makes an error in judgment when he sleeps with Marilyn Fontenot. Her boyfriend is crazy, jealous and capable of aggressive acts. Janelle is devastated when she discovers the betrayal. Also, her husband becomes aware of the affair and offers her an ultimatum. Thereafter, strange and horrible things began occurring in Frank’s life. Frank decides, because of his problems, that his daughters should receive his fortune in the event of his demise. He removes a set of George Washington saddle pistols from his safety deposit box to have appraised. Afterwards, more troubles arose and he disappeared from the face of the earth. Drake Landry, a lifelong friend, hires private detective Ralph “Semi” Simeon to find him. He’s a colorful character who is originally from Mamou, Louisiana. He was fired from the New Orleans Police Department for being a “loose cannon.” However, he’s a clever detective who leaves no stone unturned. His investigation in Frank’s disappearance takes him sleuthing in New Orleans and San Francisco. The mystery and romance is full of twists and turns. Love, determination, strength of character and tenacity of the human spirit will be tested to the limits.