Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Veil of Pearls by MaryLu Tyndall

Be swept away to Charleston of 1811, a city bustling with immigrants like Adalia, who is a runaway slave so light-skinned that no one guesses her past. Terrified her secret will be discovered, she settles into a quiet life making herbal remedies for a local doctor. But when Morgan, the handsome son of a prominent family, sweeps her into his glamorous world—a world in which the truth about Adalia’s heritage would ruin them both—suspicions and petty jealousies are aroused. What will Morgan do when he discovers that the woman he has fallen in love with is a runaway slave? 

In the 18th century, Althea Claymore (Adalia Winston) is a quadroom slave who runs away from her cruel Barbadian plantation owner, Sir Walter. She flees to Charleston and because of her fair skin, she easily assimilates into a new life where everyone believes she is a white woman. A kindly doctor has taken her into his home where she is able to put her healing skills and herbal knowledge to good use under his careful tutelage. For the doctor, she represents the daughter he lost and his fatherly care for Adalia intensifies. 

One day, she accidentally encounters Morgan Rutledge, the youngest son of a wealthy plantation owner. He is instantly attracted to the outspoken Adalia. Despite his interest, she does her best to dissuade Morgan’s attentions, while denying her own burgeoning feelings for him. As their relationship progresses, Morgan believes her to be an innocent virgin, and it becomes harder and harder to tell him the truth – that she is no virgin due to the sexual depravity she encountered at the hands of her slave owner. As their love grows more profound, Morgan wants to make her his wife. But how long can she keep her past a secret? At the same time, Morgan is at odds between his duty to his father and the plantation, and a yearning to be at sea. 

Veil of Pearls by MaryLu Tyndall is a wonderfully complex, romantic love story about forbidden love and racial prejudice. At the heart of the tale is a strong, courageous woman who risks all for love. It is a poignant portrayal of the prejudices of slavery and its effect on white and black people alike. The characters have depth; Morgan and Adalia both experience inner struggles to shed their past. This is an enduring novel of great depth. Beautifully written, it explores how far the human spirit will journey for freedom and love. This story was a real pleasure to read. Highly recommended.