Sandra Z.

Devastated at the turn her life has taken from an expected engagement to a humiliating rejection, Bethann (Elizabeth Ann) Iver faces a life of living with her sister and her sister’s husband with little to recommend herself. Determined to forge her own path, however, Bethann begins a journey of self-discovery that begins with searching for her birth parents and ends with accepting true love. Her journey is rife with pitfalls as yet another man she falls in love with discovers a horrible truth and must leave her. Dear friends also challenge her beliefs as she watches the terrible consequences of slavery. Even as she despairs of ever finding true happiness, the one who can make it so is waiting right beneath her nose - if she will only open her eyes and accept.

What a lovely and touching look at life in 1820s America! It is poignantly told through the eyes of a young orphan girl who found a family to love but must learn to stand true to her convictions.  The topic of slavery is addressed in a sympathetic, yet realistic way, as are the prejudices and outlook of society in that era. Bethann’s actions don’t always clear the believability bar and are often frustrating because they defy common sense. Also, the lead-up to a happy ending seems rushed and ultimately ends with surprising abruptness. After waiting through the entire book for Bethann to find true happiness, seeing that happiness played out, at least for a few pages, would have made this book truly satisfying.  Still, the writing flows easily and the journey is beautifully endearing, illuminating a time long gone but beautifully re-created.

Ruth Lynn Ritter