The Magnolia Duchess (Gulf Coast Chronicles #3)
by Beth WhiteFiona Lanier is the only woman in the tiny Gulf Coast settlement of Navy Cove. While her shipbuilding family races to fill the demand for American ships brought by the War of 1812, Fiona tries to rescue her brother who was forced into service by the British Navy.
Lieutenant Charlie Kincaid has been undercover for six months, obtaining information vital to the planned British invasion of New Orleans. When a summer storm south of Mobile Bay wrecks his ship and scatters the crew, Charlie suffers a head injury, ultimately collapsing in the arms of a beautiful mermaid who seems eerily familiar. As Charlie's memory returns in agonizing jags and crashes, he and Fiona discover that falling in love may be as inevitable as the tide. But when political loyalties begin to collide, they'll each have to decide where their true heart lies.
My review: 10/10
They say to never judge a book by its cover. And this is why. Though the cover is lovely, this book is so much more than lovely.
It was such a perfect blend of heaping doses of history, adventure, realistic, relatable characters, challenges and growth in faith, and love that I couldn't put it down. And felt the urge to read it all over again, immediately upon finishing it, savoring rather than devouring, this time.
The history was clearly painstakingly researched, and the effect was that you really felt like you were there. It was so fascinating. The changing view points, which typically annoys me, made total sense due to the war setting of the novel.
The adventure was larger than life, reminiscent of Bible stories. And there were several major characters' stories intertwined and woven together despite vastly different heritages. Their personalities and reactions to situations were very human, unapologetically so. I expected Fiona's character to fall apart several times and no matter what, no matter how things looked and, I believe, no matter how things could have gone, she always pushed on. She always endured. Definitely the kind of heroine I want to read about.
I appreciated that her fire, intelligence, skills, and penchant for men's pants didn't make her completely devoid of female sensibilities (particularly those of the time period) like crying, feeling frustrated and talked down to, worries that she wasn't taken seriously, and just naive judgment sometimes.
I only imagine what it was like to live through those times. But I believe the only way to emerge intact would be to place your hope firmly in the Lord, as atested to in this book. It was so well done. Really, all of this book was so well done. It was just so good. Seriously, stop reading this review and get your hands on a copy.