Damaris Tilghman is destitute after her father gambles away the family fortune and commits suicide. She has no choice but to become a family servant to a distant relative. It seems a godsend when Matthew Pope offers her a marriage proposal instead. Damaris becomes the mistress of Riverbend, Matthew's plantation, but soon faces opposition from one of the slaves.  Zoe influences the other slaves to do what she wants and convinces them she is a witch.  When Matthew  pushes Damaris aside, she realizes that he  is also under Zoe's spell. Damaris is left with little control over Riverbend but she is doing what she can to overcome Zoe's opposition and bring peace back to her home.

"Riverbend" is an emotionally provocative story that transports the reader back to the days of slavery. The story is well composed and well written, with compelling and bewitching characters. Damaris is often left at a disadvantage but overcomes her afflictions with grace and perseverance. Zoe tantalizes with her beauty and antagonistic ways. There is a constant push and pull between Zoe and Damaris and the conflict that Zoe presents makes the story riveting. The fact that a slave has as much power as the mistress  is unprecedented and provokes many different emotions. "Riverbend" is a truly  excellent novel  that will stay in the reader's mind long after they are finished!

Jessica Samuelsen