This post is part of Litfuse’s Blog Tour for Keturah.
~ About the Book ~
In 1772 England, Lady Keturah Banning Tomlinson and her sisters find themselves the heiresses of their father’s estates and know they have one option: Go to the West Indies to save what is left of their heritage.
Although it flies against all the conventions for women of the time, they’re determined to make their own way in the world. But once they arrive in the Caribbean, proper gender roles are the least of their concerns. On the infamous island of Nevis, the sisters discover the legacy of the legendary sugar barons has vastly declined–and that’s just the start of what their eyes are opened to in this unfamiliar world.
Keturah never intends to put herself at the mercy of a man again, but every man on the island seems to be trying to win her hand and, with it, the ownership of her plantation. She could desperately use an ally, but even an unexpected reunion with a childhood friend leaves her questioning his motives.
Set on keeping her family together and saving her father’s plantation, can Keturah ever surrender her stubbornness and guarded heart to God and find the healing and love awaiting her?
Series: #1 The Sugar Baron’s Daughters
Genre: Historical Fiction/Historical Romance
Release date: 6 February 2018
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
~ Excerpt ~
A bell clanged. “Release the mooring ropes!” shouted the first mate. “Prepare to make way!”
His commands were immediately repeated across the decks. Men went scurrying up rigging to the halyards—crossbeams that held the sails. Shielding her eyes, Keturah could see others climb even higher, awaiting further commands. Her heart began to race. It was truly happening. They were about to leave England for . . . forever? For quite some time, she reassured herself.
Suddenly she feared that this was the worst decision she’d ever made, though something in her thrilled to the hope of what the new adventure would bring.
“Mooring ropes loose and secured, Captain!” cried a man.
“Mooring ropes secured!” Captain McKintrick yelled, taking his place behind the huge wheel as Burr stepped aside. His eyes scanned the horizon ahead of them, observing skiffs and rowboats hurriedly getting out of their way. “Let loose fore and aft staysails!”
Again it was repeated along the length of the Restoration.
The sails were unfurled, falling fast and heavily to their full lengths and filling with the morning breeze with a satisfying whoomp. Beneath Ket’s feet, she felt the ship surge forward, the pier sliding slowly away. Men and women on the docks lifted hands and hats to them in farewell. The sailors waved back, and as Keturah and her sisters joined them at the rail, so did they. When they were a fair distance from the small boats that crowded the wharf and others could clearly see their path, Captain McKintrick called for the jibs and then topsails.
With a whoosh and a ruffling noise, one sail after another was unfurled. They caught the breeze and snapped outward, filling into wide arcs. The ship groaned, as if complaining at the combined strain upon her masts, and the Restoration rapidly picked up speed.
Verity took one arm and Selah the other. She knew Gray hovered nearby, but it was her sisters that she was most aware of in that moment. They were heading to the Indies. It wasn’t a dream anymore, nor a madcap idea. It was reality.
~ Review ~
A novel set in the West Indies in the late 1700s is just begging to be read, in my opinion. I love discovering new times and places in the pages of a novel, and I’ve never come across one with this setting before. That said, there are some harsh aspects to this setting—most notably, slavery—that I want to mention up front. As the author noted in her historical notes, it would have been unrealistic for Keturah and her sisters to run a sugar plantation without slaves. I thought the author did a good job of showing slave trading for the horror it was, while at the same time portraying Keturah and her sisters as beacons of compassion within a horribly unjust situation, but if that sounds like it’s going to bother you, then this might not be the book for you.
I ended up enjoying the historical aspect of this novel more than the romantic thread between Keturah and Gray. The Banning sisters found that running their father’s plantation was only half of their struggle as they came up against fierce, and at times unsavoury, interference from other plantation owners and overseers. The tensions of the task set before them and the obstacles they had to overcome easily carried the story for me and kept my interest.
On the other hand, while I could admire Keturah, I found her difficult to warm to. In some ways, her character was understandable—although only twenty-three, she’s widowed following an abusive marriage, and she’s determined never to be in that position again. But it made her annoyingly independent at times, particularly when it came to accepting any form of help from Gray (whom I was much quicker to warm to!) When the romantic side to their relationship did begin to develop, it felt like a sudden about-face for her emotionally, and even came across—dare I say it—as being a little cheesy.
But despite that, I enjoyed this read. I loved the setting and the way in which I’ve been forced to think about some aspects of that time from different perspectives, and I admire the Banning sisters for their grit and determination, even if they did start out from a place of naivety. I look forward to seeing what’s next for the sisters.
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher through Litfuse Publicity. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.
~ About the Author ~
Lisa T. Bergren has published more than 40 books with more than 3 million books sold combined. She’s the author of the Christy Award-winning “Waterfall,” RITA®-finalist “Firestorm,” bestselling “God Gave Us You,” and popular historical series like Homeward, Grand Tour, and more. She’s also a recipient of the RT Lifetime Achievement Award. She lives in Colorado Springs with her husband and three teen-and-older children.
~ Giveaway ~
Enter to win a copy of Keturah. Five winners will be chosen! Click the image below to enter to win. The winners will be announced March 13 on the Litfuse blog!