In an age where independent women are often celebrated, it can be hard to consider a time in history when independence was not only discouraged but also severely frowned upon. Women had no rights, could do virtually nothing without a man, and were basically considered second-class citizens.
It is 1772 England, and this is the world in which Lady Keturah Banning Tomlinson and her sisters find themselves. A widow at the tender age of 22, when her father dies Keturah finds herself responsible for not only her welfare but also that of her two younger sisters. And, she has some difficult decisions to make regarding her father’s estate.
The death of Keturah’s father, a sugar baron with a plantation in the West Indies, leaves both his British and Caribbean estates in declining disrepair. Keturah makes the unheard-of decision to take her sisters, unaccompanied by a man, and board a ship bound for the West Indies.
Lisa T. Bergren’s insightful writing broaches the difficult subjects of domestic abuse, adultery, slavery and women’s suffrage. She does leave some unanswered questions, which could be frustrating for the reader i.e., how did Keturah’s husband die? How long were they married, etc?
Readers will appreciate the growth and transformation of Keturah’s character, along with the willingness of both her and her sisters to defy unreasonable social norms.
***In exchange for this review, the publisher provided a complimentary copy of the book.