Impoverished Southern belle Joelle Daughtry has a secret. By day she has been helping her sisters in their quest to turn the run-down family plantation into a resort hotel after the close of the Civil War. But by night and under a male pseudonym, she has been penning articles for the local paper in support of the construction of a Negro school. With the Mississippi arm of the Ku Klux Klan gaining power and prestige, Joelle knows she is playing a dangerous game.
When childhood enemy and current investor in the Daughtry house renovation Schuyler Beaumont takes over his assassinated father's candidacy for state office, Joelle finds that in order to protect her family and her home, she and Schuyler will have to put aside their longstanding personal conflict and develop a united public front. The trouble is, what do you do when animosity becomes respect--and even love--if you're already engaged to someone else?
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The story began with an image of the two characters locked in a struggle for dominance. This interplay continued throughout the rest of the book but was done in such a way that the reader is charmed by the relationship between Joelle and Schuyler…While also wishing they would open their eyes and admit the truth that was evident to everyone except them.
Reluctant Belle created a vivid picture of what life in the post-war South may have looked like for the people who lived there. Ms. White did this while maintaining the integrity of the Christian fiction genre.
Joelle’s character was passionate and human. She represented those in the South who were sympathetic to the plight of the newly-freed Negroes. Schuyler understood her need for independence even as he offered her his support when she needed it. He was the perfect foil for her as she was for him. I look forward to meeting these two characters in the next book.
Know God—the characters relationship with God was evident throughout the book as they frequently prayed or drew strength from their faith.
Know yourself—Joelle and Schuyler spend such a long time denying their attraction—and love—for each other that you realize that if you don’t know yourself, you won’t know what you want. Or, what’s best for you.
Run your race—each of the characters had the chance to decide to follow the crowd or do what they were meant to do. The ones who followed the crowd usually did things they wouldn’t have done otherwise.
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Have you read A Reluctant Belle? What did you think? Purchase your copy of A Reluctant Belle on Amazon.
If you want to read more Reluctant Belle reviews All About Joelle from Novel Pastimes is an interesting read.
I received a copy of Reluctant Belle as part of the Revell Bloggers program. A positive review was not required.
Beth White’s day job is teaching music at an inner-city high school in historic Mobile, Alabama. A native Mississippian, she writes historical romance with a Southern drawl and is the author of The Pelican Bride, The Creole Princess, The Magnolia Duchess, and A Rebel Heart.
Her novels have won the American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award, the RT Book Club Reviewers’ Choice Award, and the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award. Learn more at www.bethwhite.net.