A lively historical romance set against the backdrop of the antebellum South.
Groover’s pre-Civil War romance, set in Virginia, begins with the long-awaited return of a handsome prodigal son bent on revenge. Ten years prior, Fletcher Stedman, heir to the wealthy Seabrook plantation, was brutally kidnapped by his jealous cousin, Buck, and locked away in an asylum. Fletcher’s parents were left devastated, along with Kyndee Brock, the love of his life, who was forced to marry Buck in order to save her family’s plantation. Now, after escaping the asylum, Fletcher returns to his hometown in disguise, driven by rage, determined to take back Seabrook and still helplessly in love with feisty Kyndee, whom he no longer trusts. Kyndee, of course, has pined for Fletcher all these years, and their eventual reunion is passionate, but filled with complications—secrets, betrayal and twists of fate that threaten to keep them apart. The bulk of the novel follows their romantic tug-of-war as Fletcher tries to outwit Buck and reclaim his home, and Kyndee struggles with the code of honor that binds her to a brutal husband. While sharply written, the scenes between Fletcher and Kyndee begin to feel repetitive as we see the lovers come together and split apart again and again. The prose lapses into serious melodrama during their more steamy scenes (“In a perfect duet of exquisite harmony they sought the pinnacle on fiery winged unicorns”), and the best moments between hero and heroine are grounded in snappy dialogue rather than overwrought emotion. While the period setting may feel like an afterthought at times, Groover displays a commanding style and creates an appealing cast of colorful characters. As for the key ingredient, there is plenty of romance from beginning to end.
This chivalrous romance has plenty of twists and turns to keep fans turning the page.