I was drawn to this book at our local library for two reasons. One is that I enjoy historical novels, especially those set in the Civil War era. The other reason the book captured my attention when I spied it on the New Book shelf is that the author, Dorothy Love, is part of my facebook life. I see her now and then through other writers pages. You can learn more about her and the novels she's written at her website.
Carolina Gold is set in the post Civil War period in the low country of South Carolina. Charlotte Fraser returns to Fairhaven, her family's rice plantation, to find it in ruins. Her father has died so she is left to restore the plantation but it's a huge job without the 600 slaves that had maintained the life led before the war. Charlotte is determined as she sets about hiring a few men to plant one of her rice fields. She renews friendships with old neighbors, meets some new ones. Nicholas Betancourt, widower and father of two young girls, has moved onto the plantation nearest Charlotte. Their lives become intertwined when she is cajoled into teaching his two daughters. Charlotte agrees only because she is desperate for additional money.
We watch Charlotte struggle. We see her passion for her old home and her determination. We are not surprised when she and Nicholas form more than a casual acquaintance. Property rights, secrets, a yellow fever crisis and more come into play.I'm not going to reveal any more of the story. The book held my attention to the end. There is a cast of varied and interesting characters and I learned some things about growing rice that I didn't know. I learnedmore than I'd known about the difficulty of the Reconstruction period in the South. I learned how unusual teaching methods were viewed in the nineteenth century.
Reading a book like this is also a painless way to learn some history. It's obvious that the author has done her research and the reader benefits from that. An actual woman who lived in this period and was a rice planter inspired the author to write the novel.
It took a little while to get into the story but, once I did, it moved at a rapid pace. I found myself looking forward to continuing to read during whatever free time I could manage. I liked the book well enough to look for others written by Dorothy Love and to recommend it to others. In a nutshell, Carolina Gold proved to be an entertaining read.