This eloquently-written story tracks slavery on two levels; the early African people loaded onto slave ships against their will and a wealthy aristocratic old man’s purchase of a young, innocent bride to cover her family’s deep debt. It mattered naught to anyone that she was in love with someone else. It takes a gifted writer to use the theme of slavery in a romance novel and Alissa Baxter does it well.
Now that the old man is dead, it’s easy to understand Isabelle’s tainted view of matrimony. She went from being bossed around by her father to being ordered around by her husband. She is simply over it and is quite enjoying her independence, both personally and financially when she returns to her home town and comes face to face with her first love at a house party. Slight problem here; he’s engaged and in love with someone else and Isabelle is questioning her heart at every turn. With horrible weather conditions impairing travel, a dozen or more house-guests are trapped with each other for days.
Enter Mr. Bateman. What a cocky rake! Handsome and rich and capable, he sets his eye on the lovely Isabelle who is pining over her old flame. We soon learn that what Mr. Bateman wants, Mr. Bateman gets, and we are delightfully immersed in their personal romantic war as they jockey for acceptance and love. A clean novel that transports us to another time; I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.