Author: Lisa T. Bergren
Series: The Sugar Baron’s Daughters #1
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction
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 once-great plantation, can Keturah ever surrender her stubbornness and guarded heart to God and find the healing and love awaiting her?
I was very surprised by how this story played out. When it comes to slavery, generally characters in Christian fiction are full-fledged abolitionists (Whether they come out and say it or not). I believe that the author has captured a more accurate representation of how the characters would have actually felt and reacted in the time. Although they were shocked by and didn’t like slavery, the sisters were also able to see that it was the way of life and felt it was the only way they could keep their plantation afloat. It felt more honest to the historical reality of the inner-battles people would have faced. Although there is much more to the story, this is what stuck with me the most.
Despite owning slaves (like everyone else on the island), the sisters are very different in their treatment of them. Although there is ingrained prejudices they hold themselves, they are still able to see the slaves as people and they try to treat them kindly. This upsets a lot of the other plantation owners because they fear a revolt by other slaves if they begin to see themselves as mistreated. They also do not approve of the sisters running the plantation without a man to be the one in charge. Even after they start to receive male help, they still come under-fire for their moral views and treatment of others. Although discouraged, the sisters won’t give up without a fight.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the next in the series. (Unfortunately with this book just releasing last month, I’ll have to wait a while). Lisa Bergren is a new author for me but I am glad she was suggested to me, and I have added several of her other books to my TBR pile. I highly recommend this book to lovers of history and historical fiction.
Age Appropriateness: I would say the book it geared more towards the ages of 13 and up, but with some parental discretion for younger ages (10-12). There are a few difficult scenes to read (specifically one involving a whipping, and in another men are attempting to violate a woman but are stopped before they can. The word “rape” does appear but the only description is that her dress is raised to her thighs). Although they face a lot of hardships in the book, most of it can be read about in a textbook, and therefore I would feel more lenient on allowing the younger readers to read should they feel interested. I am personally an advocate for being aware of history.