Saturday, December 3, 2011

Review of Rose's Pledge by Sally Laity and Dianna Crawford

Our Rating: 4 Stars
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Synopsis from To save their father from debtor's prison, three gently bred daughters sell themselves into servitude in America. Rose Harwood, auctioned off to the highest bidder in Virginia, is now the bondswoman of a grubby trader. Will she survive the trek deep into Indian Territory? Footloose frontiersman Nate Kinyon is eager to possess this rather thorny Rose. But is he willing to sacrifice his wealth and freedom to win her heart? When Rose's situation goes from bad to worse, she wonders if God has forsaken her after all. Is the disarming but godless Nate her only hope?

Review:  Rose's Pledge is the first novel in the Harwood House series, a promising collaboration between Sally Laity and Dianna Crawford.  After reading Dianna Cawford's other novels several years ago, I was excited to discover Rose's Pledge. Set in the untamed wilderness of 1700s America, the novel is filled with rugged peril, sacrifice, joy, and love.  The plot begins in the Harwood House in fashionable Bath, England, where the authors paint the backstory for the Harwood sisters' journey to America.  As Rose, Mariah, and Lily travel across the Atlantic and face their futures as indentured servants, Laity and Crawford create distinct circumstances and personalities for each.  The beginning of Rose's Pledge is a strong foundation for the Rose's story and those of her sisters.

From the beginning, Rose is established as a courageous  and loving young woman who will go to great lengths to protect her family.  These traits, combined with her faith, make Rose a strong and likable heroine.  She faces numerous challenges throughout her journey to an untamed and dangerous land.  Her indentured life is filled with underlying dangers, which left me in suspense and moved the plot steadily along.  Unexpected moments of joy lighten even the most difficult circumstances. 

Nate Kinyon is, in many ways, the opposite of Rose.  He is rugged, unrefined, and lacking in faith.  Laity and Crawford employ backwoods dialect to lend authenticity to Nate's character.  At times I found his written accent a bit distracting and felt that his character was not developed as deeply as Rose's.  Nate possesses a goodness that shines through his rough exterior, and his devotion to Rose's protection is endearing.  

Rose's Pledge can be read as a satisfying stand-alone novel, but there are more stories to be told.  I look forward to the future focus on Mariah and Lily.

I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from NetGalley, courtesy of Barbour Publishing.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. 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.”

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