For readers who love a heartwarming romance and a rich historical setting comes a tale of a young woman with a heavy burden, the International Cotton Exposition, and the pursuit of true love.
Eighteen-year-old Laurel Millard, youngest of seven children, is expected to stay home and “take care of Mama” by her older siblings, but Laurel has dreams of starting her own family. Operating a silk loom at the Atlanta Exposition will give her the chance to capture the heart of a man wealthy enough to take care of Laurel and any children she might bear, as well as her mother.
Langdon Rochester’s parents have given him an ultimatum: settle down with a wife or lose his family inheritance. At the Exposition, Langdon meets Laurel. Marrying her would satisfy his parents’s command, she would look lovely on his arm for social events, and in her besotted state, he believes she would overlook him continuing pursuing rowdy adventures with his unmarried buddies. Langdon decides to woo Laurel. Willie Sharp is not well-off and must take on an extra job at the Atlanta Exposition as a security guard. When mischief-makers cause trouble in the Women’s Building, Willie is put in charge of keeping the building secure. He enjoys visiting with Laurel, who seems like the little sister he never had, but his feelings for Laurel change to something much deeper. Can Willie convince Laurel that he can give her better life–even with so little to offer?
Although I’m not a fan of romance, I always enjoy books by Kim Vogel Sawyer. She is very gifted in her storytelling ability and I always find myself immersed in her books. This story is set in 1895, during the Atlanta Cotton Exposition. It is 30 years after the Civil War but racial tension is still running very strong.
Sawyer addresses the issue of racism in a realistic way without sugar coating the ugliness and hatred that was present.
The main character, Laurel is courted by a very wealthy man named Langdon. It is very clear throughout the book that Langdon’s character is extremely poor but Laurel doesn’t see it. I became extremely frustrated with her and it ruined my enjoyment of the book a bit.
I loved the setting of the story, the sights and sounds of the Cotton Exposition were described very well and I felt as though I was there.
Overall, this was another good story by Kim Vogel Sawyer but it wasn’t my favorite.
I received this book from the publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.