Katherine Sutcliffe, Author . Sonnet $6.50 (416p) ISBN 978-0-7434-1197-4

Sutcliffe (Notorious) provides plenty of plot twists but little chemistry in this predictable romance, set in antebellum Louisiana. Juliette Brussard is an orphaned heiress who returns home after years in France only to discover that she's at the mercy of her godfather, Max Hollinsworth, and his lascivious son Tylor. Although Max hopes to make Juliette his daughter-in-law, and thus gain control of her long-abandoned plantation, Belle Jarod, she has eyes only for his handsome overseer, Chantz Boudreaux. Chantz is respected for his farming skills, but he is socially shunned because of his history as a "mud dauber," one of the poor whites who eke out a living in the bayou. Despite Juliette and Chantz's protestations of desire for one another, they are repeatedly torn apart; when societal strictures don't intervene, a gator attack does. Chantz and Juliette eventually unite, but as if poverty and alligators aren't enough, they must also overcome an assault by Tylor and the spread of yellow fever. Sutcliffe loads her story with period detail, but the novel's depiction of slavery—complete with mammies, clichéd dialect and a miscegenation subplot—will disconcert the modern reader. Ultimately, despite the numerous obstacles tossed at Chantz and Juliette, it's their essential blandness that is insurmountable. (July)

Reviewed on: 05/28/2001
Release date: 06/01/2001
Open Ebook - 416 pages - 978-0-7434-1774-7
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