Loosely based on the life of a 19th-century female rice farmer in the South Carolina Lowcountry, this novel has romance, family secrets and an element of mystery for readers to uncover. The historical details are not heavy-handed, keeping the novel from being bogged down. Characters are fresh — not stereotypical — charming, gutsy and determined to make something beautiful of the horrors of the American Civil War. Love is an author beloved by many, and she does not disappoint in her latest novel.
Charlotte Fraser has returned to Fairhaven to once again produce rice and rebuild what the war destroyed. She knows she is in for a long haul to find workers, equipment and money for her family’s rice plantation. To make her dream come true, she agrees to tutor Nicholas Betancourt’s two daughters. When Nicholas strives to prove his ownership of his family’s Willowood Plantation, deep-rooted secrets about Charlotte’s family are brought to the surface. If everything they learn from the past is true, she could lose all that she has worked for. (THOMAS NELSON, Dec., 320 pp., $15.99)