First I have to share that Tyndale is one of the top publishers that I love. I am not even sure if I have ever written a four star review for a Tyndale selection. They are rich in faith and true to Christian fiction.
This novel did not disappoint. Hello? Where have I been that I have not read a novel penned by Pam Hillman? I am now a huge fan!
The cover of this gem is what caught my eye. Just a beautiful cover. The description of this novel gives enough information so the reader is inquisitive, but doesn't give away too much. I love this!
We go back in time to 1791. Deep into the south in Natchez, Mississippi. We find ourselves at Breeze Hill Plantation. The author does an outstanding job of allowing the reader's senses to capture this time and place. The characters are well developed. So much so you truly care about them, connect with them on some level, and find yourself wanting more of them. The story-line is captivating.
Once I began reading I just didn't want to put down this novel. I love historical fiction. Here we get a bit of everything. Romance, mystery, all intertwined with faith. Characters walking in daily faith and others struggling to believe. We see the battle of the heart as well.
Can you just see Isabelle walking the grounds of this plantation? She is a character that has much on her shoulders. She is gentle, has a heart of grace, and too a woman standing in a man's world. Circumstance has happened. Fire, sickness, and death have touched this beautiful place, leaving not only the heart of the home charred, but also the heart of those living here. Times are difficult. There's so much to be done, but Isabella knows she cannot do it alone.
It is through this circumstance that we meet Connor O'Shea from Ireland. Again, the author gives the reader such a great vision as to not only what this character may look like, but what lies down deep that no other can see. Connor has a past, just like all of us. One he blames himself for. He fell victim to the deceit of another, which makes him cautious in trusting others. He is an indentured servant. He isn't one to just look out for himself, but for others. I love his character.
We meet others here on the plantation and around. Some who are living good and others who are seeking evil. As Connor is working to bring back the plantation, others are seeking to destroy it. There is much to be gained by taking over this plantation, but Isabella and Connor stand strong against evil and we see God move through these two characters in such a way that couldn't have happened if they had not come together through the tragedies that surround them.
Oh, there is just so much beauty within these pages. So much I wish I could share, but no reviewer wants to give away too much detail. You too should be able to enjoy this book to the fullest.
These are words by Isabelle, "In my grief over Jonathan, I wanted to lash out, to blame someone. I pushed You away when I should have drawn closer to You than ever before. God, I'm sorry." These words stick out to me and say much about this novel. We are allowed to see the heart struggle of these characters. Some trusting people, and like Isabella, trusting God again. They carry their wounds deep, but try to remain steady in their own strength. What I love is that we see these characters encourage one other toward the Lord. We see them realize that nothing can be done or accomplished in our own strength.
If you love historical fiction I encourage you to choose this beauty for your next read!!
This novel was a gift from Tyndale for sharing my review with you.
Pam Hillman award-winning Pam Hillman writes inspirational fiction set in the turbulent times of the American West and the Gilded Age. Her novel Claiming Mariah won Romance Writers of America's prestigious Golden Heart award. She lives in Mississippi with her husband and family. Visit her website at www.pamhillman.com.