June 1917 - Scotland
An old man, sitting in the yard of Baroncrag castle, writes in a journal. He watches his favorite granddaughter pick flowers. When he passes away, this journal is to be willed to her. A journal filled with the truth that hurt so many people so long ago. "He wondered to what extent their futures had been manipulated unknowingly by his actions and how different things may have been for them had he never made that fateful voyage to America so long ago."
1860 - Scotland
Andrew McLain's great-uncle Jonathan died and named Andrew as his sole heir. He received a letter from Miss Rania Cameron rambling about unpaid debts and selling slaves. Andrew decided to take his wife, Caroline, and two sons, Heath and Winston, to America to see to the affairs. By tradition, the first-born son would be willed the Baroncrag castle, but Andrew wanted something for his other son and maybe this American cotton plantation could be it.
1860 - New Orleans, Skyefield Plantation and Oaklawn Plantation
Colonel William Cameron met the McLain's at the wharf in New Orleans to escort them to Skyefield, the cotton plantation. Here, Andrew met Rania for the first time. Rania and Jonathan were good friends and she did not want to see anything bad happen to the plantation. Caroline kept her pregnancy a secret from Andrew. Rania was in love with Jeremy Leighton and they married in November after diphtheria nearly took her life, though it did take dozens. Caroline survived, but the baby did not. Fearful of getting pregnant again, she refused any and all sexual advances from her husband. Rania and Andrew became close friends over the months. Jeremy was spending so much time running Oaklawn Plantation and Caroline was keeping her distance.
March 1861 - Oaklawn Plantation
Rania ran to tell Andrew the news that she is pregnant with Jeremy's child when they realized there was more there than friendship and they almost kissed. Both pushed those feelings away.
August 1861 - Oaklawn Plantation
Jeremy is to join the Confederate Army, as a matter of honor, in the next week. As will Rania's father Colonel Cameron because it was the gentleman thing to do and Rania's twin brother, Ben. Andrew is to handle the affairs of the plantation. An angry Rania took the buggy out to cool down her emotions from the lies everyone told her. She got out of the buggy to pick hyacinths and lost herself in the bayou. While searching for the buggy, contractions started. Liza, Rania's slave, questioned where her mistress had been for the last three hours. All men jumped into action to search for her, Jeremy heading to Pine Haven Plantation sending Andrew to the bayou.
Andrew found Rania but it was too late to take her back to the house. Andrew had to deliver the baby right there in the bayou - a beautiful boy! The pain started in her again and Andrew delivered another beautiful boy - twins! However, no cry came from this baby and he was blue. Andrew gave the baby mouth to mouth and saved him. Cameron Edward and Jonathan Andrew Leighton, respectively.
On the day the men left for war, Ben told Liza that he loved her. Liza told him they could not be together because she was 1/8 Creole. That did not matter to Ben, he wants to marry her upon his return from the from war. White society and Negro together is unacceptable, no matter who wins the war...what will Ben and Liza do?
January 1863 - Oaklawn Plantation
Production was down and most of the field hands left the plantation. Only the loyal servants stayed and took on extra work. Rania and Andrew spent a lot of time together and their feelings grew but neither acted on them or acknowledged they even existed.
May 1863 - Oaklawn Plantation
Through the trees, Liza spotted a horse with a Confederate solider clinging to it and watched him fall off. Liza recognized it was Ben, alive but bleeding from his wounds. The doctor assured Rania he would fully recover.
June 1863 - Oaklawn Plantation
Colonel Cameron died at the Battle of Port Hudson in mid-June. While going through his papers in his desk, Rania found his diary. Rania found out that Liza was her half-sister...her and Ben's half-sister. How would Ben react to the notion that the woman he loved was his sister? The next day, Jeremy returned from war. He lost a leg but was happy to leave the battlefield and go home to a lifetime of love with Rania. The same day, Rania told Ben about Liza. Ben was so angry that he slapped Rania who took refuge in the grove of trees where Andrew happened to be hanging out. Rania and Ben passionately kissed. Andrew was the first to pull away and apologize, saying while there will always be temptation, they were married to others and it could not happen again. However, the temptation was too much and they made love in the grove. Ben returned to war once his wounds were healed, not having a rendezvous with Liza before he left.
Will Ben come home safe from the war? How will they deal with the fact that Liza is their half-sister? Will Jeremy find out about the affair in the grove? While Jeremy spends his time restoring the plantation and Caroline is refusing Andrew, how will Rania and Andrew cope...alone or together? There are so many unanswered questions that you will have to read the book to find out!
I GIVE THIS BOOK: β β β β out of 5βs
If ever the stereotypically red-neck actions of the South were true, here is a book to prove it...just based in a higher society.
I liked how the author used dates in the book to carry the story along, though towards the end she stops and it gets confusing. I do not know if she did that on purpose and switched to using the ages of the growing children as a timeline. Since it was confusing, I believe that the ages of the children were changed to make the story more plausible. Maybe that is why the author switched from using the dates.
The story is amazing! After you get past the introduction of the characters, I could not put the book down and finished it in one day. So much stuff happens to all the characters and families that the storylines could easily get tangled up and not make sense, but this author remained true to the story and every storyline was addressed and taken to new levels and in the end left you satisfied.
Speaking of the end, there must have been some publishing or printing errors because the book literally finished mid-word. I am not stupid and could figure out the word, but since there were other printing errors in the book, it makes me wonder if that last word really is the last word of the story. I closed the book with a few choice curse words, but in the end was satisfied and that is all that matters.
If you don’t believe me, check it out for yourself!
Until next time, take life one page at a time!
I received this book free from Dorrance Publishing Co., Inc. as part of their book review blogger program. As a member of the Dorrance Book Review Team, I am not required to provide a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
Oaklawn Legacy © 2003, Cover design by Ian Sharpley