“Carolina Gold” by Dorothy Love

 

 

The war is over, but her struggle is just beginning.
Charlotte Fraser returns to her late father’s once-flourishing rice plantation on the Waccamaw River, determined to continue growing the special kind of rice known as Carolina Gold. But Fairhaven Plantation is in ruins, the bondsmen are free, and money is scarce.
To make ends meet, Charlotte reluctantly accepts a position as tutor to the young daughters of Nicholas Betancourt, heir to the neighboring Willowood Plantation. Then Nick’s quest to prove his ownership of Willowood sends Charlotte on a dangerous journey that reveals an old family mystery—and threatens all that she holds dear.
Inspired by the life of a 19th century woman rice planter,Carolina Gold continues Dorothy Love’s winning tradition of weaving together mystery, romance, and rich historical detail, bringing to life the story of one young woman’s struggle to restore her ruined world.
 
 What was it like to live through Reconstruction? Dorothy Love shares all about the struggle for a woman plantation owner in Carolina GoldCharlotte’s story is like none other I’ve heard.  With an up-close-and-personal look at the remains of the Southern gentry after the Civil War ended, you’ll never see that time the same again.
 
It took time after the end of the war for people to find their place: to figure out what role they could play, to find jobs, to find supplies, to learn what they needed and what they could do without.  Love walks us through that struggle step-by-step, and from multiple viewpoints, to boot:  from that of a single woman trying to revive her family’s plantation; from that of a married woman with an incapacitated husband; from a former prized slave; and from an abandoned boy who desperately wants an education.
 
That variety adds to the realistic value of the story.  Charlotte’s determination and adventuresome spirit makes her a winning character and puts her into contact with people from all walks of life, especially in the aftermath of the war.  I loved being able to see the same issue from each of these perspectives.
 
My very favorite part of this story, though, was the way that Charlotte took to education.  Her unique and unusual approach to learning stood out to me because I believe in doing something very similar.  I enjoyed seeing the creative way that Charlotte was able to turn her new passion into a money-making opportunity that could help revitalize the plantation.
 
What I didn’t like about that effort was its speed.  By the time that you could be certain of Charlotte’s future, the story ended and moved into the epilogue. I appreciated that very much, and I wanted very much to know what would happen next, but I wanted to read about it.  At the same speed I had read the previous few hundred pages.  It was too good to skip over; I want the details.
 
But in the end, isn’t that the very best kind of book?  One where you’re not ready to leave the characters but are craving more?  If that’s the case, then this is one of the best.
 
Purchase a copy here, or read other opinions on this bloggy hop.
 
 
 
A former journalist, free-lance writer and college professor, Dorothy Love explores the intersection of history and human relationships to create novels that speak to the hearts of women everywhere. She is the author of the acclaimed Hickory Ridge novels set in her native state of Tennessee.

After earning a masters degree and Ph.D, she authored dozens of magazine articles before breaking into book publishing with a number of award-winning novels for preteens and young adults. The Hickory Ridge series marked her adult fiction debut. Currently she is working on several stand-alone historical novels set in the South.

When she isn’t busy writing or researching her next book, Love enjoys hiking, traveling, and hanging out with her husband Ron and their rambunctious golden retriever. The Loves make their home in the Texas hill country.

To keep up with Dorothy Love, visit www.dorothylovebooks.com, become a fan on Facebook(Dorothy Love Books) or follow her on Twitter(@writerDorothy). 
 
I received a free copy of Carolina Gold from LitFuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.
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