To my surprise, I really enjoyed this book. I found it at the library and skimmed the back, thinking “OK, sounds like a good summer read.” Instead, it ended up being engaging and educational all at once. It probably makes me sound naive to admit this, but I hadn’t given much thought to relationships like this one during this era before. While this isn’t a “romance” in strict terms, the romance that blossoms causes some big problems for our characters, so it’s a worthy entry.
This post-civil-war era novel takes place in the south, where families are still reeling from the devastating war and it’s aftershocks… like no more slaves to tend the fields. The Sinclair family is on vacation at the outer banks to “escape the heat,” but also to escape their falling fortune. Daughter Abigail is seventeen and quietly headstrong. Though she is eager to please her family by marrying fine, upstanding (and highly irritating) Hector Newman, she just can’t for some reason. Mainly, Benjamin Whimble, a local fisherman she’s teaching to read and write. Um… uh oh.
While the story is basic in its structure of “good but inappropriate suitor versus bad but parental-approved suitor,” Abigail’s journey through this book is so true to life at that time, it’s eye-opening. And it really makes you appreciate the freedoms of our society today.
I found myself pulled in right from page one!
The Three R’s
Rating: PG. Not much happens of a sexual nature (it’s a “proper” time, people), but there is some violence and some (ahem) uncomfortable stereotypes.
Recommendation: Yes, but only if you can appreciate the total immersion into another time and place.
Re-read: Probably not. Read it, absorb what you can from it, then tell your friends.