In the continuing family saga started in the book The Doctor’s Wife, Myra McIlvain once again pulled me into the time and environment of Texas, this time in the late 1870s. She captured a difficult part of the state’s history, as well as the human emotions of that time, and did it with respect and immense historical knowledge.
Pride, love, angst, drama, personalities and incredibly developed characters, down to only those making a cameo appearance add to this forcible tale.
I love my adopted state of Texas, with all its flaws, and Myra helps me each and every time I read one of her books to understand another side of the vast and varied state.
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It is 1875 in Texas, and Albert Waters takes pride in his image—prosperous merchant and plantation owner who freed his wife’s slaves before the Civil War and gave them land after her death. Then his son Toby, ready to depart for Harvard Medical College, demands answers. Was his mother a slave?
How does a man account for the truth that on a drunken night, when all he could think about was Amelia, his long-ago lover, he gave in to the touch of a slave girl?
Al and the Waters plantation co-operative of former slaves create a community that prospers as they educate their children and work their land. They organize against political forces re-exerting control through rape, lynchings, and the rise of the KKK.
Al believes he has been given a new life when Amelia arrives in the midst of the turmoil to rekindle the passion of their love. But, in this rapidly changing world swirling around him, Al will have to confront the image he has held of himself if he wants to keep Toby and Amelia, the two people he loves most.