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Erin Marie Bernardo
Blackbird's Bounty

At thirty-three years old Darcy Rosen never expected to be living at home again. But after a quick divorce and a cheater husband left her broken and alone, home was the only place that felt safe. Hoping to help restore Darcy to a place of happiness, her mother helps find her work at the local tourist attraction and antebellum mansion of Glen Eden, where she is overwhelmed by the feeling of being haunted. When Darcy begins to unravel the mysteries of the plantation, she uncovers a troubled backstory, laced with secrets, undying love, and even murder.

More than a century in the past, Glen Eden, the crown jewel of the delta, is a prestigious southern plantation having served the Kingston family since the 1700s. But times are changing. Charles Kingston’s slaves are starting to rebel, war is on the horizon, and he is slowly losing control over his family. His oldest child, Christopher, is in love with a pretty slave girl. His middle child, Cordelia, is dark and dangerous, and his youngest daughter, Madeline, is very ill. Can he keep it all together before it’s too late, or will he have to bury secrets that stay hidden for generations?  

Plot/Idea: 9 out of 10
Originality: 8 out of 10
Prose: 8 out of 10
Character/Execution: 8 out of 10
Overall: 8.25 out of 10


Plot: Bernardo’s novel is enthralling and incredibly powerful. The dark plot is exposed through clever flashbacks, and the author paces these in a way that builds tension while developing depth at the same time. Readers may sense the looming conclusion, but it is gripping nonetheless.

Prose/Style: Bernardo’s prose is cleverly crafted, with accurate historical phrasing and speech. The arresting descriptions and scene-setting will transfix readers.

Originality: Blackbird’s Bounty gratifyingly twists historical fiction and successfully transforms it into a thriller, with a potent balance of cliff-hangers and symbolism.

Character Development/Execution: Bernardo’s characters are convincing and will captivate readers. Cordelia Kingston is a chilling antagonist with a resounding demise, and Darcy Andrews ends up nearly prosaic when compared to her historical counterparts.

Blurb: A thrilling, edge-of-your-seat journey that will transport readers to the 19th century and hold them captive. 

Date Submitted: August 27, 2021