Slant of Light by Steve Wiegenstein
The book is published by Blank Slate Press, which promotes emerging authors in the St. Louis area. And since the story is set in southern Missouri it has a second local connection. I enjoyed reading about my home state in this tale of historical fiction.
Just before the Civil War breaks out, an idealistic group of people sets out to fulfill their dreams of a new society. Everyone will work for the good of the community and they will govern themselves democratically. As they strive toward sustainability the harsh reality of farming and living off the land dampens the enthusiasm of their charismatic leader.
In the surrounding area people are joining sides, north or south, and there's plenty of discord amid rumblings of war. The community is determined to stay neutral in the conflict, but will that mean they are enemies of both sides?
The book dragged a bit in parts, but the characters are interesting and the plot gives the reader much to consider.