by Beth White
“Just remember that what you want and what you deserve are not always the same thing. And what God has planned for those who love him is on another level entirely.”A Reckless Love
While traveling to Branson for a family vacation, I started A Reckless Love and sadly, was not able to finish when we reached our destination. After unloading, buying groceries, unpacking, making dinner, and the like, I was able to return to post-civil war Mississippi in the comfort of my hotel room. It was not long before I had turned the last page, and although I know the series has ended, I am still longing for more. Not because the story was lacking or ended strangely, but because I am truly sad to finish. The historic detail, the characters, the plot, the mystery, the romance… I was captivated from the beginning and look forward to returning again in the future.
In the fine tradition established by her Southern grandmama, Aurora Daughtry has recently orchestrated the marriage of her eldest sister and facilitated her middle sister’s engagement. She also rejoices in her part in transforming the family’s dilapidated plantation manor into a luxurious and lucrative resort hotel. Just when it seems there is nothing left to absorb her considerable talent for managing people, in walks federal deputy marshal Zane Sager.
But Zane is not at Daughtry House for a vacation. He’s tracking a killer and collecting two key witnesses to a federal judge’s murder.
Aurora takes it upon herself to disabuse the cynical lawman of his conviction that the world is out to get him. But just as she’s on the verge of cracking Zane’s defenses, the man he is after reminds him that no one he loves is safe. Ever.
Uncharacteristically, I read the series in order and I am incredibly thankful I did. Although each book centers around a different Daughtry sister, each installment builds upon the last. As I finished reading the first two, I thought of a few unanswered questions and storylines, but Beth White beautifully ties each story together into a well-crafted trilogy that leaves you unable to stop reading.
As this series is based around a family of redhead women, it is no surprise that I greatly enjoyed each addition to the series. When I read typically, I usually imagine the character in my head looking like me, regardless of what the author says. Every book contains a short, freckled, redhead with blue eyes. However, that was true in the case of The Daughtry House Series. And true to life, as my brothers can attest, the redhead Daughtry sisters contain the same famed feisty spirit that we are known for.
Beth White has written such deep and diverse characters in the series that I honestly found myself relating and loving each one for their own strengths and quirks. But honestly, I really love Aurora, the youngest and most feisty, bossy sister the most. I have often been described as such and thus felt a certain kinship with her desire to manage others and situations. She was strong, capable, lovable, competent, and an all-around great character.
I loved how slowly Beth White unravels Zane Sager’s life story. It kept me turning page after page as I began to fall in love along with Aurora. His sense of duty, justice, unwitting charm, likeability, guilelessness, and strength made him a wonderful pairing with Aurora. I love stories that involve a man falling for a woman, against his better judgment! My only complaint is how quickly Zane often changes his mind. His decision shifts gave me whiplash.
Although the series only progresses from February to July of the same year, I enjoyed seeing previous narrators reappear as they continue their own lives. Having had the opportunity to see their point of view in the first two books, I found it interesting to see them through Aurora’s eyes. Especially all the love and adoration she sees in their relationships.
The mystery and complex plot make the book engaging and difficult to stop reading, even when the real world requires it. I wish there had been more development at the end of the series. It seemed rather abrupt in the way the story was resolved. Regardless, I finished feeling satisfied with how the story ended.
If you enjoy civil-war era novels that center around mysterious and suspense with clean, swoon-worthy romance, then I heartedly suggest adding this to your week’s TBR list.
I was given a free copy of the book from the publisher, but the opinions in this review are completely my own.
The Red Review: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
***5 Hearts: Compelling Characters, Well-Written, Interesting Storyline, Unable to Stop, Desire to Re-read