You know, I was about halfway through Last Stop Freedom when it finally dawned on me that I read these novels in the wrong order. The way the stories are connected is reminiscent of the Little House on the Prairie books. They tell tales of a specific world through different eyes and other, reoccurring characters. In case you were curious: Last Stop Freedom, Refiner’s Fire, and A Light Within (I think) is the order that makes the most sense. Things flow flawlessly from character to character and, frankly, I enjoyed each one of them.
As the daughter of a preacher, Julia Bigsby’s life isn’t too exciting. All that changes when she meets a plantation owner that’s more trouble than he’s worth. Her life loses its dullness quickly, but at what cost? The longer she stays, the more she abhors the Southern way of life—and for good reason. Living in the South is an uncomfortable thing for me. Especially seeing how many people consider the Civil War a trifling matter, and continue on as racist and sexist as can be. Reading through Julia’s journey gave me hope that maybe—maybe—one day, things will change (even though the rational side of me knows it won’t).
After reading several books by this author, I’ve come to appreciate the subtle, nuanced approach they take to their romances. Their foreshadowing, as well. The reader thinks they’ve figured things out all by themselves, only to realize that the author was deliberately stringing them along. I know we’ve all seen the romanticized versions of Southern romance (think Gone With the Wind, and things similar). Well, these romantic subplots are written versions. Really. I had actual feelings reading through them.
Story pacing took its dear, sweet, Southern time. It really matches with Julia’s character. There’s a lot that goes on. Level and levels of detail went into enhancing the background of the characters and the setting. Character voices, for the most part, were fairly clear. Description and knowledge went hand-in-hand, one serving the other at all times. The author didn’t rely on media stereotypes for their genre. Historical accuracy was excellent.
The range of conflict was wonderful, both internal and external. Watching the main antagonist descend into gentlemanly villainy was quite the spectacle to see. Again, a very subtle thing that’s masterfully crafted.
This one was quite a bit longer than the others, but worth it. Just like always.
Buy it here!