When a serial killer strikes a Missouri plantation, a slave and her lover discover they must outwit a cunning and devious psychopath in this historical novel.
Matthew Colburn is the scion of a prosperous Missouri family. His parents hope he will become a doctor and carry on the family legacy as owner of their plantation with a wealthy bride by his side. Matthew dreams of training as an architect and pursuing a romance with Sarah, a beautiful slave on the plantation. Sarah is attracted to Matthew, but because of their positions in society, they feel romance is an impossibility. In the spring of 1850, a mystery unfolds when Mali, a teenage slave, disappears one evening. Her sister, Anna, initially believes there is an innocent explanation, but then she also vanishes under curious circumstances. At the same time, Matthew and Sarah face a crossroads in their friendship. Matthew’s parents want him to wed his spoiled cousin, Francesca, while two potential suitors ask for Sarah’s hand in marriage. Unable to deny their feelings, Matthew and Sarah elope, but their happiness is fraught with danger. When two more people disappear, the Colburns discover a killer is in their midst, a murderer with a special interest in Matthew and Sarah. This series opener from DuBois (A Tale as Old as Time, 2018, etc.) is a richly detailed historical thriller brimming with intriguing, well-developed characters and a fast-paced plot that offers a plethora of surprising twists and turns. Matthew is a dynamic and multilayered hero. Devoutly religious, he objects to slavery and strives to treat everyone with respect and dignity. This sentiment extends to his dealings with Sarah. Despite his attraction to her, he refuses to take advantage of his position to coerce her into a physical relationship. This restraint helps create and maintain the romantic tension in his connection with Sarah. He is complemented by Sarah, an intelligent and strong-willed woman who tries to avoid any negative repercussions for his family because of their liaison. The author successfully balances the romance with a gripping murder mystery that, while violent, is never gratuitous.
A complex thriller that offers intense romance and suspense.