Book Title: Keturah
Author: Lisa T. Bergren
*Thank you to Bethany House Publisher for my copy of Keturah in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.*
Keturah is the first book in a series (The Sugar Baron’s daughters). Below is the description from the back of the book:
“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?”
My Honest Thoughts:
First things first, I am not a huge historical fiction fan. So to be honest, I put this book at the bottom of my TBR pile. When I finally picked it up, I was glad that I did. I have not read any of the author’s previous works, but I will pick up the next books in this series. I enjoyed the book as a story, but as you will read below, there were some parts that left me disappointed.
The setting begins in England and then travels to the West Indies in 1772. Due to some unfortunate financial woes of their father, three sisters inherit his estates and have to make some tough decisions. They choose to go the unconventional route and travel to the West Indies via ship. Here lies my first disappointment – this is an almost unbelievable journey in the story. During that time period, what occurs on their travels to the West Indies is not historically accurate. So if you are one who likes historical fiction, I would say this book will be an annoying if not frustrating read. I already stated that historical fiction is not my type of book, so I kept reading it for the story and not the history or accuracy of the time period. With that being said, I did hesitate a few times because it was so far off historically that it was impossible not to cringe.
While I enjoyed the sisterly bond between the three sisters, some of their interactions left me rolling my eyes. I do believe the author was going for strong female characters, but in my opinion two of the sisters missed that mark. Maybe their strength will come out in future books in this series.
The main characters, Keturah and Gray, are both unlikable. I struggled to connect with them. On one hand she wanted to be independent and then in the next breath, she was swooning over his body. Her interest in him was awkward and his interaction with her was the same. The book mentions some very heavy topics (rape, slavery, beating, etc.) although doesn’t go into great detail. There is a enough that I do think it is worth mentioning and being aware of while reading.
I was most looking forward to the setting in the West Indies as I have not read many books that have used that location. This did not disappoint! I enjoyed the journey via ship and the West Indies. Keturah showed great strength and compassion with the people on her plantation. I also enjoyed this aspect of the story.
All in all, the book is ok. I will read the other books in the series out of curiosity. Read at your own risk…..you can get your copy today at this link.