I have no idea how to review this. So many things jump out at me to write down, and then when I physically sit to do so, those thoughts go right out of my head! Kim Vogel Sawyer is one of my top favorite historical authors and she brings whatever time period she’s writing to life and fleshes out characters so real you could touch them. At the end of each novel, I feel like I’ve made new friends and celebrated each high and low with them. I cared deeply about Laurel and her extended family, Willie and his Pa Otto, and Quincy.
Quincy was a character that really stood out to me. He faced so much prejudice being a black man and society looking down on him. Treated with indifference and tolerated nowhere, my heart hurt for all he went through. Langdon was a character I didn’t like one bit, he was our “villain” if you will. Rich, spoiled, privileged and looks down on those beneath him in social status. I think every good story needs one of these, and at the end, even he has some redeeming qualities!
In a time of social unrest and unbalance, four lives mesh and mold a story that had me thoroughly hooked! Hot topic areas are covered such as racism, bigotry, social status chasms (rich vs. poor), and slavery. I appreciated Sawyer's gentle handling of each topic without losing how real they affected each character in times past. I also loved learning about silk production and weaving, a fascinating topic I’d love to delve more into. Oh, and the authors descriptions of the Expo definitely made me wish I could have jumped into the pages and explore for myself. A thoroughly engaging historical that brings to light the struggles of humanity and a gentle love story to stir the heart.
*I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House on behalf of the author and was under no obligation to leave a favorable review. All opinions expressed here are my own. *
For readers who love a heartwarming romance and a rich historical setting comes a tale of a young woman with a heavy burden, the International Cotton Exposition, and the pursuit of true love.
Eighteen-year-old Laurel Millard, youngest of seven children, is expected to stay home and "take care of Mama" by her older siblings, but Laurel has dreams of starting her own family. Operating a silk loom at the Atlanta Exposition will give her the chance to capture the heart of a man wealthy enough to take care of Laurel and any children she might bear, as well as her mother.
Langdon Rochester's parents have given him an ultimatum: settle down with a wife or lose his family inheritance. At the Exposition, Langdon meets Laurel. Marrying her would satisfy his parents's command, she would look lovely on his arm for social events, and in her besotted state, he believes she would overlook him continuing pursuing rowdy adventures with his unmarried buddies. Langdon decides to woo Laurel. Willie Sharp is not well-off and must take on an extra job at the Atlanta Exposition as a security guard. When mischief-makers cause trouble in the Women's Building, Willie is put in charge of keeping the building secure. He enjoys visiting with Laurel, who seems like the little sister he never had, but his feelings for Laurel change to something much deeper. Can Willie convince Laurel that he can give her better life--even with so little to offer?
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