Laurel’s independent spirit and feminist outlook are ahead of her time, but Fleming effectively transports readers to the past by emphasizing the details of daily life in 1870s America. However, the book does not present a polished, romantic portrait of the era, instead incorporating a welcome level of realism that offers a more authentic look at life during that time. The era’s moral values set the stage for the complex web of troubled relationships in Laurel’s family, but lingering grudges and emotionally charged confrontations make this family easily recognizable to today’s readers.
Some romance-oriented readers will be frustrated that Laurel’s time with her grandmother pulls her away from her promising relationship with Cillian, but her grandmother’s engrossing backstory more than makes up for this pause, and most readers will find themselves eagerly anticipating the chapters written from the grandmother’s perspective. Laurel’s quest to know her grandmother takes her on a parallel journey of self-discovery just as significant as her budding romance. While the character of Laurel’s father is not as fully developed, this heartfelt family saga offers readers a deeper understanding of the story’s brave, determined heroine and will inspire them to cheer her on in romance as in all other things.
Takeaway: This sweet period romance will satisfy readers who want more than just a damsel in distress.
Great for fans of: Karen McQuestion’s Dovetail, Kathleen Fuller’s Amish Brides of Birch Creek series.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A