Maddie comes to love the serenity and beauty of the swamp as her brothers continue their lawless ways. After kidnapping the daughter of a wealthy carpetbagger, they force Maddie to hide the precocious eight-year-old while they return to New Orleans to wait for notice of a reward.
Could the kidnapping have led Tom to the doorstep of a woman he had already been searching for? Is he willing to help discover Maddie’s true identity if it means giving her up forever? Will they find the strength to choose honor over love?
When I first pulled this book out of the pack I was very underwhelmed by the cover. I was talking on Twitter a few days ago with Rel from Relz Reviewz that unfortunately I am guilty of negatively judging a book by its cover. Had I been in a book store I would have breezed right by this book without a moments consideration. In my opinion, this series is a perfect candidate for book repackaging with its very 90s matte cover and windblown and forlorn heroine gazing into the distance. Especially with cover artists really raising the bar lately, I would hate for someone to miss out on this book because between the prosaic covers awaits a lovely story…Ok, rant over. On to the review!
This book begins with a heart-wrenching account of two orphaned children separated in the most heinous of ways, and from there the story unravels the tragic impact of that event. Maddie is a main character that toes the line between flawed heroine and reluctant antagonist in an intriguing and suspenseful battle of conscience vs learned behavior (or nurture vs nature). What Maddie (and the reader) have to decide is whether nor not Maddie can truly leave her past and trauma behind to start afresh or will she forever be plagued by the dysfunction of her childhood. The character development in this story was insightful and captivating.
The story line of the kidnapping does not comprise the whole plot like the book description alludes to. Penelope’s character (the young child who is kidnapped) is an essential tool to draw out Maddie’s innate nurturing and to supply comic relief in perfect doses. I like that there were loose ends left unresolved because it builds anticipation for the third installment in this series. This book can be read as stand-alone novels (I unknowingly started this book realizing that there was a preceding book), but in order to capture the true essence of the heroines, I would recommend reading them in order.
**Thank you to Zondervan for providing a review copy**