Find out the latest indie author news. For FREE.


Myra McILvain
The Knotted Ring
Susannah Mobley, expecting a baby by Philippe, a slave owned by her family, submits to an arranged marriage to Hezekiah James who is headed to Texas to claim a Spanish land grant. Caught in a spiral of lies, first about a beautiful ring woven from her red hair that was created by Philippe and then about the circumstances of her pregnancy, Susannah embarks on the harsh trip to Texas, grieving for her lost love and determined to control her destiny. Hezekiah is tested by his beliefs and strengths with his slaves and Indians as well as a strange Mad Stone. Despite Susannah’s growing admiration for Hezekiah, she does not tell him the truth about the ring or her pregnancy, which is magnified when he gives her a gold chain to carry the ring. In his determination to keep Susannah from the shame of raising a half-white child, Hezekiah arranges to free a slave in exchange for him carrying the baby away. Susannah lives with rage for years before Hezekiah’s efforts to prove his remorse finally seals the marriage with the birth of four sons. On a trip to the colony headquarters, Susannah encounters Philippe and her daughter. Despite the agony of never knowing her child, Susannah pretends to be an old friend and gives the ring and chain to her daughter. To Hezekiah’s offer of a new chain, she requests a baby girl instead.
Plot/Idea: 9 out of 10
Originality: 6 out of 10
Prose: 9 out of 10
Character/Execution: 9 out of 10
Overall: 8.25 out of 10


Plot/Idea: McILvain offers readers a sweeping forbidden romance between Susannah, the daughter of enslavers, and Philippe, one of her father’s enslaved people. The plot spans several years, from 1817 to 1832, and overflows with tension, hidden meaning, and deep, abiding love.

Prose: The prose is evocative and paints vivid images of the story’s events. Some transitions feel less smooth than others, but overall McILvain writes fluidly, with arresting descriptions.

Originality: The premise is familiar, but McILvain endows the characters with vibrant personalities that carry the story.

Character/Execution: Readers will be drawn in by McILvain’s characters, who are richly developed with powerful voices. The tension crafted between Susannah’s past and present is palpable throughout, and McILvain skillfully depicts her warring emotions. 

Date Submitted: August 31, 2023