About the Book:
Five years after the final shot was fired in the War Between the States, Selah Daughtry can barely manage to keep herself, her two younger sisters, and their spinster cousin fed and clothed. With their family’s Mississippi plantation swamped by debt and the Big House falling down around them, the only option seems to be giving up their ancestral land.
Pinkerton agent and former Union cavalryman Levi Riggins is investigating a series of robberies and sabotage linked to the impoverished Daughtry plantation. Posing as a hotel management agent for the railroad, he tells Selah he’ll help her save her home, but only if it is converted into a hotel. With Selah otherwise engaged with renovations, Levi moves onto the property to “supervise” while he actually attends to his real assignment right under her nose.
Selah isn’t sure she entirely trusts the handsome Yankee, but she’d do almost anything to save her home. What she never expected to encounter was his assault on her heart.
I am beginning to appreciate more and more how divided our country is at this time. How could things be any more ready to ignite? And yet, throughout our history, there have been times of great cataclysm. The Civil War was surely one of those times. In A Rebel Heart, by Beth White, after Ithaca Plantation has been destroyed by marauding Northerners, how can genteel Selah Norton work with an out-of-favor neighbor and a northern carpetbagger to restore the glory of her former home?
Courage has to be one answer. Whether it is Selah’s courage to follow Levi Riggins’s directions in their first mutual disaster, or her willingness to head up the whole project that Riggins later proposes. The former slaves have to have the courage to agree to work with Selah, trusting they would be treated well, not like the slaves they have been. Wyatt Priester, agreeing to live with Selah and her sister and work, hoping to get some apprenticing, again shows a great amount of courage. He is only 14 when he makes that decision. Riggins himself is quite brave. While helping restore Ithaca, quite a bit of scheming is going on which could cost him everything. Riggins says,
“Doing what you have to do when you’re afraid. That’s what courage is.”
I really enjoyed the great mix of history, romance, intrigue, and even plotting, involving the Pinkertons.
I would have appreciated a small glossary. There were several big words I had to look up. Good thing I was reading on my Kindle!
“A couple of quotables could go a long way today if only people would take them to heart:
“History always matters because it impacts the present and the future.”
“When everyone knows something is
true, you don’t question it.”
There is, of course, a teaser at the end for the sequel, which will be Joelle and Schuyler’s story. I am ready for it!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. No positive review was required and all opinions are solely my own.
About the Author:
Beth White teaches music at an inner-city high school in historic Mobile, Alabama. Her hobbies include playing flute and pennywhistle and painting, but her real passion is writing historical romance with a Southern drawl.
A native Mississippian, she is a pastor’s wife, mother of two, and grandmother of two–so far.
Also published as Elizabeth White, her novels have won the American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award, the RT Book Club Reviewers Choice Award, and the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award.