SUMMARY: The war is over. But her battles are just beginning.
Following her father's death, Charlotte Fraser returns to Fairhaven, her family's rice plantation in the South Carolina Lowcountry. With no one else to rely upon, the smart, independent Charlotte is determined to resume cultivating the superior grain of rice called Carolina Gold. But the war has left the plantation in ruins, her father's former bondsmen are free, and workers and equipment are in short supply.
To make ends meet, Charlotte reluctantly agrees to tutor the two young daughters of her widowed neighbor and heir to Willowood Plantation, Nicholas Betancourt. Just as her friendship with Nick deepens, he embarks upon a quest to prove his claim to Willowood and sends Charlotte on a dangerous journey that uncovers a long-held family secret - one that threatens everything she holds dear.
Inspired by the life of a 19th-century woman rice farmer, Carolina Gold pays tribute to the hauntingly beautiful Lowcountry and weaves together mystery, romance, and historical detail, bringing to life the story of one young woman's struggle to restore her ruined world.
REVIEW: Having read another book of Dorothy Love and liking it, I was interested in reading this one when it came across my email. The book started out strong and ended on a good note but there were a few places in between that left me wanting more.
The heroine, Charlotte, inspired by Elizabeth Waties Allston Pringle, was a woman ahead of her time, and lives in South Carolina in the aftermath of the Civil War. I loved how Charlotte didn't listen to those around her saying she shouldn't be trying to raise rice and other crops because that wasn't the work of a woman. She was determined to do her best and try to keep the homestead together and not have to marry a man she didn't love, her only other option. She wasn't afraid of hard work, and was often found helping her hired hands plant the rice crops and tending the fields. After having a couple of setbacks and needing money, Charlotte agrees to help out her neighbor, Nick Betancourt, by becoming his daughters' teacher until a local school could be opened, stepping out of her comfort zone to help fulfill a need.
I found the story anti-climatic when Charlotte goes to New Orleans looking for Nick. He had left his children with Charlotte while he looked in New Orleans for information about the deed on his property. When they didn't hear from him for a few months, Charlotte goes to New Orleans looking for him in the midst of a yellow fever epidemic. The time she is there seems forced and strange, like when she goes off with a little homeless girl without telling anyone (dangerous for anyone) and the events surrounding Charlotte finding Nick working in one of the make-shift yellow fever hospitals.
Overall, the book was good and I like the ending.
This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group and Thomas Nelson Publishers for review without compensation.
Dorothy Love is a native of west Tennessee and makes her home in the Texas hill country with her husband and their two golden retrievers. An accomplished author, Dorothy made her debut in Christian fiction with the Hickory Ridge novels.