“Keturah” by Lisa T. Bergren || Review
Being that this is the first book I’ve read by Bergren, I expected that. I always struggle when trying to get used to new authors, their voices, and their different styles of writing. As a side effect of that, I rarely ever pick up a new author. I like to stick to my “auto-buy” authors. The ones I know, love, and trust. However, this one had a plot that I simply could NOT ignore. Plus, the setting?! Caribbean?! YES, PLEASE.
Here’s the summary for you:
“In 1772 England, Lady Keturah Banning Tomlinson and her sisters find themselves the heiresses of their father’s estates and know they have one option: Go to the West Indies to save what is left of their heritage.
Although it flies against all the conventions for women of the time, they’re determined to make their own way in the world. But once they arrive in the Caribbean, proper gender roles are the least of their concerns. On the infamous island of Nevis, the sisters discover the legacy of the legendary sugar barons has vastly declined–and that’s just the start of what their eyes are opened to in this unfamiliar world.
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.
Set on keeping her family together and saving her father’s once-great plantation, can Keturah ever surrender her stubbornness and guarded heart to God and find the healing and love awaiting her?”
The Caribbean is definitely on my travel-buckatlist and while I probably won’t be making a trip their anytime soon, I seriously enjoyed traveling there in my mind’s eye thanks to the wonderful descriptions by Lisa T. Bergren.
I felt like the first third of the book moved very slowl, and it took me a while to get hooked on the characters. There were so many, each with their own arcs and motivations. I think that’s where I struggled the most, but once I hit chapter 12, I was gone! So deep in love with Gray, Ket, Selah, Verity, and the rest of the crew.
Gray is a romantic interest that I did not like at first. In fact, I found him rather loathsome. Kudos to the author for making me go through such a range of emotions with this character! From being the bored and disinterested reader, to being the reader who cheers him on as he passionately pursues Keturah’s affection. That’s real growth, and I love that a book can do that.
Keturah is a strong character, but she obviously sets herself apart from the rest. She’s scarred, she’s a victim, and she doesn’t trust anybody. Still, she’s strong and determined to succeed on her own, regardless of her past.
The different plot twists and revelations had my jumping off my couch (an impressive feat, by the way).
I really appreciated how the author handled the topic of slavery in the novel. It was a very real part of life in the colonial West Indies, and while it would be easy to sugarcoat it (no pun intended) and present instead a love story set against the backdrop of a glorious sugar cane plantation, the author does no such thing. I mean, sure, it is a love story set against the backdrop of a recovering plantation, but the author deals with issues of racism and slavery skillfully and I admire that.
Overall, I really loved it and I especially loved the sisters’ relationships with each other. It was very sincere and authentic, and I really enjoyed that. I always love when a book manages to capture raw human emotion and actually portrays real life rather than just mere caricatures of such.
I stand by my opinion that this book moves a bit slowly, but I strongly encourage you to give it a chance nonetheless. I will definitely be picking up the sequel to this book when it comes out. Of course, I do hope that in the second installment the pace picks up a bit more and the other characters’ arcs are deepened, because I’m very interested in what will happen to Ket’s younger sisters.
I’m sure you will be too, if you read this book!
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