The book starts out with a future event and then moves backwards to get background info. It took me a little bit to get adjusted to the “time thing”, but once I did, what a start it has! The writing was so detailed and captivating that you got caught up into the book right away. A storm at sea and I could almost feel the roll of the ship, the crash of waves, the thunder and the terror of drowning at sea!
It’s set in 1866 after the Civil War and some Southerners who were having a hard time adjusting for one reason or another, wanted a fresh start. And what better place for that was in Brazil close to Rio de Janeiro. Twenty two passengers, along with the crew set sail from Charleston to paradise. Or so they thought.
Colonel Blake Wallace, who put this expedition together, suffered from what we now know as PTSD from the Civil War. He needed to get away and start fresh in a new and wonderful land to try and escape the horrors of war that still haunt him. And Eliza Crawford was shunned from her family and friends when she “deserted the South” by marrying a general in the Northern army. When he was killed, after only one year of marriage, she had no place to go…so this trip was her last hope for a new life.
Mysterious Angelina’s past and what did Mr. Dodd know about it? Why was Mr. Scott so hard on his daughter, Magnolia? Had he always been that way or did something happen to change him? Will the “white folks” ever be able to forget their prejudice against the slaves and accept the freed slaves, Moses, his sister and her children?
James, the preacher (who used to be a doctor) sums up why God let’s bad things happen to Blake so well. The conversation starts on page 211 and ends on 212. I can’t quote that much, but here’s just a glimpse:
“No one can deny the existence of God when looking at such beauty.” (James)
“And what can one deny when they gaze upon severed limbs and spilt entrails upon the battlefield?” (Blake)
“One cannot deny that mankind is fallen and in desperate need of salvation.” (James)
“Then why didn’t God save us? Why didn’t He stop the war, all the killing?” (Blake)
“Because He gave mankind a wonderful yet dangerous gift.”… “Free will. We are the ones who start wars, not God.” (James)
God’s love, grace and mercy are woven throughout this story, not preachy, not overpowering, but subtle reminders that God loves us, shows us mercy and grace beyond what we deserve and we should show that same forgiveness to others.
The end left me wanting more – a mystery yet to be solved. Can’t wait for the sequel!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from bookfun.org in return for my honest opinion and did not receive any compensation for a favorable review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
I will donate this book to the Media Center so everyone can come and read it. Watch the trailer below: