A Reluctant Belle | Blog Tour and Review
Joelle Daughtry has a secret.
By day, the impoverished Southern belle 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 constructing a school for former slaves. With the Mississippi arm of the Ku Klux Klan gaining power and prestige, Joelle knows she is playing a dangerous game.
Loyalties shift with Schuyler Beaumont, childhood enemy and current investor in the Daughtry House renovation, 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?
My Thoughts (*mild spoilers*)
Don't you love the name Joelle? This main character's bookwormish, introverted tendencies, along with her love for writing and sassy comebacks make her a woman after my own heart in many ways!
Beth White's writing style is energetic and vivid, and her attention to historical detail was excellent! I really enjoyed this aspect of the book. I appreciated how she focused on the lesser known education of former slaves just after the Civil War, and the brutal travesties of the Ku Klux Klan.
But the story fell short for me. I had to force myself to finish it because the plot just didn't hold my interest, and Joelle and Schuyler disappointed me as a very immature couple. They had potential, but... accepting another man's proposal just because you had a little tiff with the guy you obviously love (the same boy you kissed way back when you were 13)? Come on, seriously?
Also, their love story just didn't feel very edifying or well-grounded. There was a lot of purposeful dwelling on sexual fantasizing that went beyond the appreciation of God-given physical attraction, at least in my opinion.
I'd like to give some of Beth White's other books a chance one day! But for me personally, this one wasn't that enjoyable.
I give it 2 stars.
*I received a copy of this book from Revell Books (a division of Baker Publishing Group) in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own.*