About the Book
Keturah never intends to put herself at the mercy of a man again, but every man on the island seems to be trying to win her hand and, with it, the ownership of her plantation. She could desperately use an ally, but even an unexpected reunion with a childhood friend leaves her questioning his motives.
To keep her family together and save the plantation that is her last chance at providing for them, can Keturah ever surrender her stubbornness and guarded heart to God and find the healing and love awaiting her?
“…all God asks of us is to do our best, from morning to night. He does not expect us to that things that only He can accomplish, only what we’ve been given to do, and to trust Him with the rest.”
This summarizes one of the major themes of Keturah, by Lisa T. Bergren and is a large part of why I enjoyed this book.
She has written an excellent work of historical fiction that takes place in Georgian England and the Caribbean with well-developed characters, intriguing themes, and a sweet and believable romance. This is the first book I’ve read Ms. Bergren and is the first book in her new series, The Sugar Baron’s Daughters.
Keturah Banning Tomlinson is the hero, the oldest of the Sugar Baron’s daughters. They receive word that their father has passed away and in an effort to earn money to pay off creditors, Keturah and her sisters decide to move to the sugar plantation her father ran on the island of Nevis and take over the operations. Keturah is a great character. She is a widow and suffered emotional and physical abuse from her first husband. This has understandably made her hesitant to trust in God, reluctant to rely on others, especially men. She’s also headstrong, determined, and just a touch naïve. Keturah’s journey to overcome her past is my favorite arc in the book.
Gray Covington is our other main character, and he is also wonderful. He is a younger son and spent his childhood and early adult years as a flighty character. He is also a childhood friend of Keturah’s. When the book opens, Gray is dedicated to rebuilding his own family’s sugar plantation and has overcome his earlier “indiscretions” of flirting and kissing a lot of women. Gray is definitely changed himself for the better and works hard at being the best person he can be.
Often when a physical journey is involved, the trip itself takes too long and then the “destination” part of the story is resolved too quickly. Luckily Ms. Bergren works out the correct proportion of prior, during, and after the trip from England to Nevis and none of those sections feels unbalanced.
The romance between Keturah and Gray developed at a nice pace and I understood both of their motivations for wanting a relationship and reasons why they were leery of being in one. Hopefully we will get to see more of them in the next books in the series!
Learning to rely on others, God, and overcoming difficult pasts are themes that are handled well in this book. I appreciated that Keturah’s abuse at the hand of her first husband was not glossed over, nor are the lasting effects it has on her. Secondary characters are also well-drawn, and both of Keturah’s sisters are well-developed with motivations and desires of their own.
One minor aspect of this book that I trouble with is it feels like it disregards the fact that Keturah and her sisters are slave owners. We expect slave owners to be portrayed as over the top evil and there are some in the book like that, but we are also supposed to be okay with Keturah and Gray owning slaves. It is historically accurate but I want to make sure other readers are aware of this.
I give Keturah 4/5 stars and recommend it to those interested in learning more about the sugar growing process, the Caribbean, and those who enjoy books about overcoming our pasts.
**I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Bethany House. All opinions are my own.**
About the Author
Writer/Editor. Voracious Book Reader. World Traveler. Veteran. Bakery Owner.