Born on a night that took both her parents, Mercy Carver is raised and sheltered by her grandparents. On the eve of her eighteenth birthday she finds out she's been promised to the local butcher for four years. Mercy's stomach turns. She tries to think of a way out, but coming up with nothing, plans a single day of freedom over the bridge in London - a town she's never seen. If she'd only known what that day would bring.
This story starts off like a gothic, but quickly turns to an historical romance reminiscent of the old 600 page 'bodice rippers' full of kidnappings, damsels in distress, thwarted lovers, and a trip to a new country. It's not 600 pages, thank goodness, and while the author doesn't spare the details of our heroines trials, the story doesn't get as dark as some others I've read in the past. It isn't full of happy coincidences either, staying true to a reality I may not have always liked as I read, but understood.
Set in the American pre-civil war era, there is a great deal of attention to history delivered in a very conversational manner. Again, the author stayed true to the period. When you're introduced to a slave owner, he talks and thinks like a slave owner. It's a tad bit bracing, but honest.
I no longer read a great deal of historical romance, but this one took me back. Glad I picked it up.