Book Review: Carolina Gold

4 Jan

687618The war is over, but at Fairhaven Plantation, Charlotte’s struggle has just begun.

Following her father’s death, Charlotte Fraser returns to Fairhaven, her family’s rice plantation in the South Carolina Lowcountry. With no one else to rely upon, smart, independent Charlotte is determined to resume cultivating the superior strain of rice called Carolina Gold.  But the war has left the plantation in ruins, her father’s former bondsmen are free, and workers and equipment are in short supply.

To make ends meet, Charlotte reluctantly agrees to tutor the two young daughters of her widowed neighbor and heir to Willowood Plantation, Nicholas Betancourt.  Just as her friendship with Nick deepens, he embarks upon a quest to prove his claim to Willowood and sends Charlotte on a dangerous journey that uncovers a long-held family secret, and threatens everything she holds dear.

Inspired by the life of a 19th-century woman rice farmer, Carolina Gold pays tribute to the hauntingly beautiful Lowcountry and weaves together  mystery, romance, and historical detail, bringing to life the story of one young woman’s struggle to restore her ruined world.

dorothy_love_photoA former journalist, free-lance writer and college professor, Dorothy Love explores the intersection of history and human relationships to create novels that speak to the hearts of women everywhere. She is the author of the acclaimed Hickory Ridge novels set in her native state of Tennessee.

After earning a masters degree and Ph.D, she authored dozens of magazine articles before breaking into book publishing with a number of award-winning novels for preteens and young adults. The Hickory Ridge series marked her adult fiction debut. Currently she is working on several stand-alone historical novels set in the South.

When she isn’t busy writing or researching her next book, Love enjoys hiking, traveling, and hanging out with her husband Ron and their rambunctious golden retriever. The Loves make their home in the Texas hill country.

My Impressions:

Dorothy Love has captured the reality that was the Reconstruction South in her newest novel, Carolina Gold. Filled with realistic characters, beautiful descriptions and the emotions of post-Civil War South Carolina, this novel is a must read for those who love historical novels set in the South of the 1800s. I really liked this book and am sure you will too.

Charlotte Fraser made a promise to her father that she would restore the family plantation, Fairhaven. Armed with determination and grit, Charlotte tackles the task despite the warnings of other planters, unpredictable weather and labor shortages. Her courage is admired, but her neighbors feel that her dream of growing rice is a lost cause.

Charlotte Fraser is a wonderfully complex character. She is a woman that never quite fit into the mold of the Southern belle. She faces hardship, failures and naysayers with focus. Yet Charlotte also yearns to have what other women desire — a husband, a home and a family. The promise to her father determines  her actions, yet her work to recapture what had been must give way to life in the New South. Other characters are equally well-developed and capture real emotions and attitudes of the time.

The Reconstruction South is brought to life in Carolina Gold — changed relationships between former masters and slaves, the deprivations following the defeat of the Confederacy, the many laws that sought to regulate the southern states — are all seamlessly interwoven in the narrative. Blacks and whites, poor and the formerly wealthy, all have to adapt in order to make a new life.

Perhaps the best part of Carolina Gold is that it was inspired by a real-life person, Elizabeth Waties Allston Pringle, a woman rice planter in the Lowcountry. I love that Love brings to light this remarkable woman.

Carolina Gold was a great start to my 2014 reading. Recommended for those looking for a well-written, well-researched historical novel.


For other reviews, click HERE.

(Thanks to LitFuse for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase a copy of this book, click on the image below.

3 Responses to “Book Review: Carolina Gold”

  1. Kelly Blackwell January 5, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

    Nice review. I am sure that this would make very interesting subject matter. I look forward to checking out Carolina Gold myself. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    • rbclibrary January 5, 2014 at 3:05 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by. I have enjoyed all of Dorothy Love’s novels, but I think this is my favorite.


  1. Saturday Review of Books: January 4, 2014 | Semicolon - February 28, 2014

    […] of Jerusalem)22. Lazygal (Wake)23. Lazygal (The Weight of Blood)24. Lazygal (The Enchanted)25. Beckie @ ByTheBook (Carolina Gold)26. Beckie @ ByTheBook (Rest Not in Peace)27. Beckie @ ByTheBook (The NIV Ragamuffin Bible)28. […]

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