Reading this book is like stepping out of a time machine into pre and post Civil War America. Set primarily in Georgia, this is a finely written historical romance novel. We are introduced to the main characters, Jenny Mabley and Charles King during a fox hunt. When Jenny and Charles marry, they move to Trevalyan, a magnificently lush plantation home. Beautifully and richly described as to the social customs of the day along with in depth insights of the political situation, the reader will be immersed into the everyday life of those on the plantation as well as those in power. Physical descriptions of the area and the people bring the images easily to life.
Woven into the tragedy of a country soon to be divided by war are concurrent threads of romance to keep the balance between love and hate. A never ending love story between an older Congressman and a younger widow add to the magic of this tale. A host of peripheral characters at Trevalyan and elsewhere only adds to the delightful story. The horrors of war and how the people dealt with the heartbreaking challenges are aptly portrayed. Throughout it all, the underlying theme is of a people of indomitable spirit and courage with a deep abiding faith in God. The reader can feel the emotions of the characters almost jump off the page whether it is from love of family, the ancestral land or patriotic love of country.
Jacquelyn Cook writes with such an eloquent tone and attention to detail, the reader is enthralled as the story unfolds,seamlessly blending historical figures with fictional characters while bringing both vividly to life. The plot is wonderfully crafted with characters so well developed, they seem to audibly breathe. Cook, a long time Georgia native, has deeply researched the historical details. Much of the characters were drawn, she says, from her own ancestors, early settlers of the area. The extensive bibliography highlights the many and varied resources used. This story will keep your attention to the very last page. This was one of the most interesting and well written books I have recently read. Highly recommended. 5*****