Five years after the final shot was fired in the War Between the States, Selah Daughtry can barely manage to keep herself, her two younger sisters, and their spinster cousin fed and clothed. With their family’s Mississippi plantation swamped by debt and the Big House falling down around them, the only option seems to be giving up their ancestral land.
Pinkerton agent and former Union cavalryman Levi Riggins is investigating a series of robberies and sabotage linked to the impoverished Daughtry plantation. Posing as a hotel management agent for the railroad, he tells Selah he’ll help her save her home, but only if it is converted into a hotel. With Selah otherwise engaged with renovations, Levi moves onto the property to “supervise” while he actually attends to his real assignment right under her nose.
Selah isn’t sure she entirely trusts the handsome Yankee, but she’d do almost anything to save her home. What she never expected to encounter was his assault on her heart.
One of the reasons I requested this book is because I love reading about the Civil War and its aftereffects in fiction. My thoughts:
What I liked
Cast of characters. Usually I get annoyed when there are just too many characters on the pages, but White managed to create a cast of characters that were unique and diverse enough that I didn’t get lost or confused as to who I was reading. They also had very distinct personalities, making them come alive on the pages. I enjoyed Selah’s sisters and her cousin and even their relationship with their various neighbors.
Treatment of former slaves. Usually in these kinds of books, the former slaves work for their former masters with joy. I liked that there was some complex feelings here. The former slaves did not immediately jump at the chance to work for their former slave owners and everyone had to deal with hurt feelings on both sides.
Spiritually, the novel deals with forgiveness and how if you let it, bitterness will destroy you.
What I didn’t like
I hate to sound like some kind of creative writing police, but there was a lot of telling and not enough showing in this book. It wasn’t bad. It just felt like the characters didn’t go much past the surface. We are told Selah is brilliant and ‘should have been born a man.’ And yet most of the book she just seems really stressed. She doesn’t make things happen, things happen to her.
Levi is a Yankee who fought in the war and comes to the south. We are told people don’t like him but everyone (other than the obvious villain) does. He also is there to solve a mystery but half the time I wasn’t sure what it was.
The romance was too straight forward for my taste. Not bad, but not exciting.
The book only really dealt with the effect of the Civil War in a surface way. I mean, yes, the villain was a villain because of the hatred he developed as a result of the war, but sometimes the details are in the small things and we don’t really get them here
Romantic scale: 7
Overall, this was not a bad book. I think I went into this book expecting one thing and it just wasn’t as complex as I would have liked.
**I received a copy from Revell. My opinion was not affected in any way.**