VEIL OF PEARLS by MaryLu Tyndall

Barbour Books; July 1, 2012

PUBLISHER’S BLURB:

Be swept away to Charleston of 1811, a city bustling with immigrants like Adalia, who is a runaway slave so light-skinned that no one guesses her past. Terrified her secret will be discovered, she settles into a quiet life making herbal remedies for a local doctor. But when Morgan, the handsome son of a prominent family, sweeps her into his glamorous world—a world in which the truth about Adalia’s heritage would ruin them both—suspicions and petty jealousies are aroused. What will Morgan do when he discovers that the woman he has fallen in love with is a runaway slave?

RHFL CLASSIFICATIONS:

Christian Romantic Historical Fiction

19th Century

Heat Rating 1

REVIEW RATING:  4 stars

REVIEW BY:  Helena

Veil of Pearls grabs you from the first few pages, as we join Adalia Winston, a very light-skinned slave on her escape from the Barbados Plantation where she has been kept prisoner.  She makes her way to America in hopes of beginning a new life with her new-found freedom.  We meet up with her in Charleston as she faces new trials and struggles while keeping her former life a secret.

Her new life in Charleston thrusts her directly in the path of Morgan Rutledge,  the son of a wealthy plantation owner, when she visits his plantation to help care for a sick slave.  From the moment Morgan lays his eyes on her, he becomes infatuated; but, try as he might, Adalia is unrelenting with her rejections of him.

Eventually, she can resist no longer, and agrees to see him socially.  This opens up a whole new world of problems for Adalia.  Society, especially the ladies, is not ready to accept her into their circle.  One in particular will stop at nothing to destroy the growing affection between Morgan and Adalia.

Adalia and Morgan both face obstacles throughout their relationship.  Adalia struggles with her conscience and her faith as she entwines herself with both Charleston society, and the people who are the exact thing she escaped from.

Morgan struggles with the preconceived notions that come with Adalia’s rank as a commoner, and with the ongoing issues in his home life.

I normally don’t gravitate towards Christian Historical fiction; however, Veil of Pearls seems to transcend this genre.  Yes, the story does revolve around the Christian faith — quite heavily in fact — but the story as a whole is so much more than that.  It is rich in historical detail, and has an underlying theme of slavery, and not just in the literal sense of the word.  While the time period itself did in fact rely heavily on slavery to run the plantations and to make their living, in Veil of Pearls we see how even those upper-crust slave owners are slaves to society, to family and sometimes even to themselves.

Veil of Pearls is much more than a historical romance.  It is a love story with wonderful depth and a reflection of real-life society.  The characters are deeply human.  They are flawed and imperfect.  But they are likeable.  You will find yourself cheering for both Adalia and Morgan, hoping for them to find happiness together and within themselves.

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