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In 1772 England, Lady Keturah Banning Tomlinson and her sisters find themselves the heiresses of their father's estates and know they have one option: Go to the West Indies to save what is left of their heritage.

Although it flies against all the conventions for women of the time, they're determined to make their own way in the world. But once they arrive in the Caribbean, proper gender roles are the least of their concerns. On the infamous island of Nevis, the sisters discover the legacy of the legendary sugar barons has vastly declined--and that's just the start of
what their eyes are opened to in this unfamiliar world.

Keturah never intends to put herself at the mercy of a man again, but every man on the island seems to be trying to win her hand and, with it, the ownership of her plantation. She could desperately use an ally, but even an unexpected reunion with a childhood friend leaves her questioning his motives.

Set on keeping her family together and saving her father's once-great plantation, can Keturah ever surrender her stubbornness and guarded heart to God and find the healing and love awaiting her?

352 pages, Paperback

Published February 6, 2018

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About the author

Lisa Tawn Bergren

109 books3,586 followers

Lisa Tawn Bergren is the best-selling, award-winning author of over 60 books, with more than 4.5 million copies sold. She recently released The Sugar Baron's Daughters Series (KETURAH, VERITY and SELAH), and recently finished a teen series called Remnants (SEASON OF WONDER, SEASON OF FIRE, and SEASON OF GLORY). She's also written the River of Time Series (WATERFALL, CASCADE, TORRENT, BOURNE & TRIBUTARY, DELUGE) and The Grand Tour Series (GLAMOROUS ILLUSIONS, GRAVE CONSEQUENCES, GLITTERING PROMISES), time-slip romance duology called River of Time: California (THREE WISHES and FOUR WINDS), and some contemporary romances (ONCE UPON A MONTANA SUMMER and ONCE UPON AN IRISH SUMMER are the newest releases).

Lisa’s time is split between managing home base, writing, consulting and helping Tim with his business. Her husband Tim is a sculptor of ducks-out-of-fenceposts (RMRustic.com), graphic designer and musician. They have three big kids–Olivia (who just got married), Emma (who is about to get married) and Jack (who is a junior in high school).

The Bergrens make their home in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 295 reviews
Profile Image for Hannah.
2,402 reviews1,336 followers
March 9, 2018
Conquered at 30%.
I almost wished I could share my notes and highlights on this file like people do with their kindle copies, because there was just so much snark going on!

Keturah's former plight fails to arouse my sympathy...she has decided to punish the entire race of men for the actions of one. That's not the sign of a strong woman. A lady who flexes her muscles and yells aloud does not a strong woman make. This sugar puff loses her spine the minute she touches the hero's bare chest, though there are some stubborn struggles.

Gray is...NOT a gentleman. He comes in like a dashing, distant fellow straight out of a modern bodice-ripper. I was willing to give him a chance, because I admired his wish to go make a career for himself. He seemed good-humored enough. But then on shipboard he hides from the fair ladies he has just promised to be a friend and protector to, then manipulates Keturah into interest in his farming books by ordering his servant to sit on deck and read one. Then, the night of a bad storm, he hops out of bed (conveniently discards popular practice and sleeps shirtless) and throws a jacket on—SO contrived!—to go check on the ladies. (Historically, he'd be caught in his "shirt sleeves" sooner, since the linen (washable part) would have always been layered under the jacket (woolen or silken jackets aren't washable, but linen is, because, you know, sweat...and stink...) instead of grabbing the jacket first off. You want him showing chest? Have him not lacing up the shirt.) So some interesting pirate fantasy plays out as he has his arms thrown out and his hair hanging over his face in front of Keturah, and when she is in his arms she finds herself suddenly not so independent after all....

Anyway, got past that just barely and then we have a flashback of hers to a time when she attended a ball after a severe beating from her husband. It's previously been said that a) she couldn't admit in public she was beaten, and b) he had not formerly shown any romantic interest in her. But he somehow intuits that she is hurt and then asks her to dance, where his gentle touches in her hair, down her back, and on her waist provide comfort she desperately needs. What?? It's not okay for an unmarried man to comfort a troubled wife by caressing her.

So that was where Gray as a hero and I parted ways.

A slough (spelling intended) of historical inaccuracies made it tough reading as well. Once the characters lost the promise I had seen, there was nothing left to keep me reading.
Words: sissy (1800s), shenanigans (1850), etc
Food: sardines (fished for oil in 1750, eaten in 1900s after rise of canning industry)
Manners: one that stood out was handshake. A ship's mate refusing to shake hands with a lady was first a rank insult and then ahead of its time. He should have bowed.
Shipboard: It's hammered in how dangerous it would be to be around the sailors. Why did the ladies take a ship tour, why were they not accosted, and why did they see no sailors in the hold during the times of loading the ship?
Gossip: They buck custom and then mourn when they are gossiped about?

Anyway, I had enough of it and stopped. I had more than enough material for a review already. :) I won't be trying this author again.

Thanks to the publisher for a free review copy.
Profile Image for Jessica.
569 reviews778 followers
December 28, 2017

I received this book for free from LibraryThing’s Member Giveaways.

I really liked this book. Despite some of the less than savory subject matter and situations that the characters were in, I found this book to be incredibly hopeful and uplifting. The Christian aspect of this wasn’t overbearing at all.

I thought that the story was very unique, you never really see books that deal with plantations in the Caribbean. It was incredibly interesting and insightful to explore this little spot in history.

I loved the three sisters and their strong familial bonds. I also loved how they stood up for what they believed in.

Overall, I wasn’t expecting much from this book, but ended up being really impressed by it. I’m curious to see how the rest of the series unfolds.
Profile Image for Libby May.
Author 4 books86 followers
April 4, 2018
Keturah was a book that I personally enjoyed.
Yes, I agree with a lot of my friends that did not enjoy the book. There were plenty of scenes that made me go "bleh" out loud (16 to be exact)
Yes, most of the attraction between Keturah and Gray was physical and the mentions of his bare chest was yucky.

However! The plot was good, the story was good. Keturah's determination, and Gray's "change" were agreeable and believable. And Keturah's wariness of males because of her past was very understandable. It did not feel (at least to me) as snobbish, but her protecting herself. (And she had a good reason to)

The whole thing beside the romance part of it stood on its own two feet.
Then why the two stars off?
#1 As I was enjoying the story I would come across points of "romance" that would make me wrinkle my nose and reach for my pencil, which was annoying because it pulled me from the story. It wasn't crucial to the plot and could have been better executed.

#2 The era. It really did not at all feel like the 1700s. It did feel like historical fiction, but not that far back! It was odd when the men would put on wigs, even though that was supposed to be the normal thing.
Also, like Hannah mentioned, there were a lot of historical flaws that really would not have happened back in 1700s, and in turn, failed to make that the era. No way Keturah would have worn breeches. No way. Not in that time frame.

There was mention of molesting (did not happen), rape (also did not happen) manhandling, Keturah was physically abused by her husband, although this was only talked about in her memories because during the book her husband was already dead (semi-detailed). Lots of drinking (which the author talked about in her post-note, her attempt to fit the time frame) talk of muscles, curves, lips, (not detailed) mention of stealing kisses, wanting a kiss and kissing (semi to not detailed).

I recommend age 16 and up. Basically so you are mature enough to strain out the dirt and enjoy the story.

Three stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishing Company for my honest review. Visit my blog geoturtle.com to read more book reviews.
Profile Image for Andrea Cox.
Author 3 books1,637 followers
February 20, 2018
The first third of this book was entertaining, intriguing, and mostly well written. My enjoyment of this portion of the book is what saved it from being a one-star read for me. The back-cover copy and beautiful cover art drew me to this story, and I had been excited to receive an early copy (a positive review not required). The aspect I was most looking forward to was a woman in the late 1770s fighting to save her family's plantation. That was a unique approach.

Once I dug into it, though, I was very disappointed. The plot dropped away pretty quickly after the first third of the novel, slipping into a melodramatic mess that revolved around abuse, cliched relationships between masters and slaves, and many predictable elements that brought little uniqueness to the story line. Even when the plot of saving the plantation was revived sometime in the final third, the predictability remained a large issue for me, as did the redundancy of Keturah's denial of feelings for Gray. There were a couple of dropped or forgotten threads, several typos, one profane word, two expletive phrases, one vulgar term, and plenty of sexual innuendo. There were a couple of things that seemed highly unlikely for the time period (such as proper English ladies bathing in an outdoor pool when they knew unsavory men were coming onto their property without permission).

Something that really bothers me about historical fiction is when too-modern terms are used. It dilutes the quality of the work and, by extension, the genre. At least three such terms were used in this book, one multiple times. This is typically a sign of either a mark of poor research on the writer's part or poor attention to detail on the copyeditor's part. This story took place in 1772, yet these terms were used:
* sissy - first used to mean "sister" in 1846
* rapist - first used in 1883
* double-dip - first used in either the 1950s or 1960s (contradictory sources, but none I found showed usage prior to that)

Another thing I didn't appreciate was the insinuation that God gambles, or bets, on people (page 60). This, to me, was highly disrespectful of the Almighty God.

Other content issues:
* alcohol
* gambling
* mistress
* illegitimate child
* marital sexual and physical abuse
* nudity

I will not be continuing this series, and it's doubtful that I'll read more of Ms. Bergren's books, as this is the third one to disappoint me.

I receive complimentary books from publishers, publicists, authors, and sites like Netgalley, Litfuse Publicity Group, and Blogging for Books. They do not require me to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
Profile Image for Maureen Timerman.
2,819 reviews469 followers
March 7, 2018
What a captivating read, a story that brings us across oceans and continents, and a blend of cultures.
You can see how society would be aghast when Keturah, Lady Tomlinson, and her sister’s Selah and Verity, go unescorted across the Atlantic from England to the West Indies, and are intent to running a sugar plantation alone.
Throughout the ordeals that they encounter, you see a great strength in God, and a constant watchful eye of Ket’s childhood friend Grey, another man on his way to plow his own path and make his own riches in the sugar industry.
This book does touch on some very hard subjects, and to name a few, slavery and abuse, we see it up close and personal.
I will warn you that once you turn the first few pages you will soon be lost and the hours are going to fly by as you page turn.

I received the book through the Publisher Bethany House, and was not required to give a positive review.
Profile Image for Emily.
560 reviews39 followers
June 12, 2018
When Keturah and her two sisters find their finances depleting because of their father's and estate manager's deaths, they make the crazy decision to travel halfway around the world to save their father's sugar plantation in the Caribbean islands. Coincidentally, Keturah's childhood friend travels on the same boat to save his own plantation. Can Keturah rise above the innumerable challenges she will face as a woman alone in a very dangerous, sexist community as well as heal from the wounds her abusive, late husband left?

I love, love the cover on this book. It makes me want to be her, there in that epic dress in the Caribbean. And the colors are spectacular!

As for the book itself, well, it was good, but not the best Lisa Tawn Bergren book I've read. Keturah is framed as a strong female lead, stepping out against the societal constraints of her time to do what no other woman has dared to - run a plantation in a foreign country. Exactly what today's society tends to love in a fiction book, although I'm not sure how historically accurate Keturah's attitude and actions were.

I'm also not sure about the reactions of the males around her. The majority of the men in this book seemed sexist, rude, controlling, violent human beings. They wanted to marry her for her money and beauty, they abused their slaves and women like Keturah, and they set out to sabotage Keturah's plans to run her plantation. There were a few exceptions, like Keturah's love interest, but even her loving father fell prey to some of the follies by having a slave woman as his mistress and having a child with her. I just don't like that portrayal as so many men being kind of evil and the women so much better. Now, the little I know about history leads me to believe that on those sugar islands, where there was little in the way of Law, this portrayal of the men might very well have been true. But this presentation of the men was set opposing to the strong female lead, and it makes the book seem like it fell to the worst parts of today's feminism, where women are portrayed as good and men as evil.

Another major issue addressed in this book was slavery. Slavery and racism is such a big issue in today's world that many authors of historical books specifically write their characters to have no slaves or to treat them very well, like family. This book did that and didn't. I thought it was kind of daring for the author to make the characters not only own but continually buy slaves fresh off the boats in the auction. They treated their slaves better than every other owner did and condemned the harsh treatment of slaves, but the fact remains that they did, in fact, have slaves. Keturah and her sisters worked alongside the slaves in the fields and even hired a former slave as an overseer. I appreciate that. But the use of the "n-word" and the ownership of slaves will likely make some readers uncomfortable.

As for Keturah herself, I appreciated her strong spirit and determination. She loved her sisters deeply and she took care of what was hers. Some of her failings were that she was proud and rarely accepted help and she distrusted nearly all the men around her. Her distrust and bias against men was not the sign of a strong woman, no, but I understand why she did it. Keturah was abused by her husband, and she had not yet recovered from that pain when the book began. Having known women in similar situations, I understand that it can be incredibly hard to trust any of the opposite sex when someone of that gender has hurt you deeply. It is unfair to the better men in Keturah's life, but it is something she has to overcome before she can act different.

So, yes, this book has some flaws and some things that might give readers pause. But I still enjoyed reading it. I loved the setting, the sweet romance, and the evidence of real relationships with Christ in the main characters. I recommend it to historical fiction readers.

I received a complementary copy of this book. All opinions are my own, and I did not receive compensation for this review.
Profile Image for mary liz.
213 reviews18 followers
March 24, 2018
*breaks into the "Hallelujah" chorus*

I feel so free now that this book is finally over.

I almost DNF-ed it - almost - but I forced myself to keep reading because it was a review book.

Honestly, I'm glad I did . . . but only because it gives me the satisfaction of having conquered this *cough* interesting book.

Lovely Things:

- The unique setting. I've never read a book set in the Indies! I found the premise to be rather different and unique. Though honestly, it ended up being a super boring storyline soooo . . . yeah, more on that later.

- The sister relationships. Although I didn't actively like the characters, I appreciated the strong bond the sisters had. Sibling relationships are THE BEST. *nods*

Um . . . that's pretty much all I can think of. :P

Not-So-Lovely Things:

- OH MY GOODNESS SO BORING. This is honestly one of the driest, most uninteresting books I've read in a long time. I literally fell asleep during the "intense" scenes. Basically 80% of the book either involves a) talking about crops, b) talking about how horrible men are, or c) talking about the attraction between Keturah and Gray. HAHAHA HOW ABOUT NO?? I have very minimal interest in all the specifics that go into running a plantation. I expected SOME talk about it, obviously, given the synopsis . . . but not so much that I was bored to tears. The whole storyline ended up feeling very flat to me. Not to mention all the melodrama the author felt she needed to add to make it, ahem, interesting.

- The characters. I was extremely aggravated with Keturah for most of the story. I wanted to sympathize with her, given her difficult background, but I just . . . couldn't. She was obstinate to the point of ridiculousness and acted so much like a child at times. She also felt really uppity and condescending. I don't know - she just wasn't likable. And Gray?? Ehhhh. His interest in Keturah bordered on obsessive sometimes. He was overall a rather stereotypical "love interest." I could care less about him. The other characters were either despicable or flat. (Although, I did like some of the slaves! They were better than all the main characters. )

- The romance. Oh boy . . . here we are at last. This book made me question whether or not I should go back and re-read Lisa T. Bergren's other series, River of Time, which I enjoyed as younger teen. Because the romance . . . it's so physical and dramatic. I actually got a bit of a chuckle out of it, while at turns wanting to throw the book across the room. I didn't LIKE Keturah and Gray separate, so putting them together was even worse. Although it wasn't ONLY based off physical attraction, it just felt like it was emphasizing that aspect a lot.

Case in point. There were lines like this:

"His legs were spread-eagled to give him better stability, and his jacket yawned wide, giving her a glimpse of even more of his chest and belly - muscles far bigger and more defined than when they last swam together at the swimming hole. A man's now. So much more defined than Edward's had been. His dark hair flopped partially over his eyes in a way that she knew would make most women swoon."

Like . . . like . . . what the heck? I don't know whether to laugh at the melodrama of it all or gag over how disgusting that is. Maybe both. xD

Not to mention the fact that Keturah was SOOOOO wishy-washy, going from "I don't need a man" to "oh my goodness, isn't Gray handsome?" within the space of ten seconds. She pretty much decided she loved him a few pages after telling herself she was done with men forever. Yeah, that sounds reasonable. :P

Basically, everything about this romance was laughable.

- It just felt . . . cheap. I don't know how to describe it, but the book overall felt cheap and superficial. It had some REALLY heavy themes which could have made for an impactful, emotionally touching read, but instead it just came across as flat. God was shoehorned into the plot, with just one short, forced scene where she "felt Him" and "found peace." Throughout the book, there are references to God but never any outward change to Keturah. Not to mention, she never seemed to come to the realization that men aren't all evil louts. (Which is a hard realization to come to when the author decided "oh hey, let's make ALL THE GUYS on this island disgusting!" Was that . . . really necessary? I have a hard time believing everyone except Gray was leering at Keturah and her sisters and basically being horrible human beings . . . ) This book felt like a disservice to the very themes it was trying to develop.

Overall? I'm extremely disappointed, but also relieved to be done. I won't be continuing this series and am reluctant to read any more of Bergren's books. My apologies if my review came across as scathing. There were a few things I liked about the book, and perhaps other people would have better experiences with it. :)

I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

1.5 stars
Profile Image for Haley S.
385 reviews
March 5, 2018
I can’t say that I liked this book better than Lisa’s River of Time series, but I still did enjoy it. I mean, The River of Time is hard to beat because I love it so much. However, Keturah was very good.
All Lisa T. Bergren fans will definitely enjoy this book. However, I do have to say Keturah’s backstory was slightly confusing. I didn’t really understand what happened to her. Therefore, I didn’t really “feel” for her. I am very excited to read about Verity and Selah. I wish I could talk more about them and what I hope happens to them in the next books, but I can’t without giving anything away.
Before you go, I have to let you know about a great giveaway! Litfuse Publicity Group is giving away fives copies of Keturah for five lucky winners to enjoy! Here is the link to read a little bit more about the book and author: http://litfusegroup.com/campaigns/ket.... And then here is a direct link to the giveaway: http://litfusegroup.com/campaigns/ket....
The cover is interesting! The scenery/background is pretty. I am going to give it 4 stars!
I am going to give this book 4 stars. Although it wasn’t my favorite, I still would recommend it to fans of romance with intrigue. I can’t wait to read the next books in the series to find out what happens to the Sugar Baron’s daughters!

Title: Keturah
Author: Lisa T. Bergren
Author’s Website: http://lisatawnbergren.com/

I receive this book from the Litfuse Publicity Group for this review.

This review is written in my own opinions and words.
Profile Image for Eva-Joy.
511 reviews37 followers
August 9, 2018
I was sucked into reading this book because of the gorgeous cover and the fact that it seemed to be kind of controversial among my Goodreads friends - I wanted to see what all the buzz/hype was about. Well, I saw. And I didn't much like it.

I'll start with the good. I appreciated the setting and details of daily life in the West Indies in 1772. That was cool. One of my favorite books is The Witch of Blackbird Pond which has the main character speaking/thinking often about her life in the West Indies, so I was intrigued to finally 'travel there', so to speak. I applaud Lisa T. Bergren's research in that regard. And I liked Captain Duncan, for the most part. I might even pick up the second book in this series just to see if he lives up to his promised awesomeness.

However, there were several things I didn't like about Keturah. For one, I couldn't connect to any of the characters - they all seemed somewhat shallow (and that's a shame, because if I can't relate to/like characters in a book, I'll usually dislike the book). Keturah was an acceptable protagonist, but she seemed taken from the same mold as most other Christian historical romance heroines. Not much originality. And I didn't care for Gray at all, either as a character or the love interest (which was basically his character). There were several 'romantic' passages that just came across as ridiculous, mostly involving the physical attraction between Keturah and Gray.

The plot seemed to move quite slowly as well, though it did pick up once Keturah and her sisters were actually in the West Indies.

Overall, I tried to like this book but I never fully connected to it or enjoyed it all that much.

Book provided courtesy of Baker Publishing and Graf-Martin Communication.
Profile Image for Shantelle.
Author 2 books356 followers
March 8, 2018
3.5 stars

Keturah by Lisa T. Bergren was an enjoyable read, with some lovely bits and interesting themes. As book one of this author's new series, THE SUGAR BARON'S DAUGHTERS, I was very much looking forward to it! It didn't end up being my favorite read, but I still am excited to read the next installment to the series and adventure more with this trio of sisters.

Keturah Banning Tomlinson is the eldest of the sisters, living in 1770s England. Upon word of her beloved father's death, she determines that she must embark on a journey to the West Indies and manage her late father's estate there. The endeavor turns out to be an imposing one, and fraught with new obstacles and dangers.

My least favorite thing about this book? Perhaps the slower pace of the plot and the fact that I wasn't as invested in the characters as I want to be when I read a novel.
But despite those things, I still managed to get into the story and must admit, am wondering what's going to happen next for Keturah and her sisters! Some scenes involving the ocean in the West Indies were so beautiful and tantalizingly authentic ... I wanted to be there! Keturah's past and her journey to emotional freedom was an interesting and touching one. Some aspects were so awful, but the healing so beautiful! Watching her learn to trust again was sweet, indeed. Though some parts seemed to be pushing the "independent woman" agenda a little, there also were scenes in Keturah that acknowledged, appreciated, and praised strong, kind, good men.
Slow pace, yes, but there was more than a couple emotion-filled, raw, authentic scenes that stirred my heart!

The romance was sweet and dear. The faith theme very lovely (though not always clear. Though Christ was mentioned, when forgiveness and sin were addressed there was no talk of holy justice and needing to accept Jesus to have your sins forgiven).

All in all, I did like this book and enjoyed my time in the West Indies - despite the danger and drama! I really do look forward to reading Verity and Selah's stories!

I received a copy of Keturah from Litfuse Publicity Blogger Program in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Rachel McMillan.
Author 25 books1,059 followers
January 10, 2018
With Bergren's penchant for layered historical research, winsomely poetic voice and dialogue that swiftly spins a spell on the helpless reader, KETURAH is unlike any other historical inspirational tale I have ever read.

It features a stunning history and local as well a a situation wherein women are forced to act as catalysts for their own agency -- while still accepting the grace of a male (this hero is to die for, fyi) protector.

Inspirational fiction like this takes strides in not only painting a realistic and visceral portrait of history; but also showing the strength and determination of women to pursue roles and adventures most often suited for men.

The scales of equality are balanced beautifully between Gray and Keturah.

this is far deeper than an inspy novel, instead navigating the social injustices of its era against a land of beauty and great danger.

An intricate tapestry worthy of your time and gushing.

For any reader who has ever questioned the intelligence of CBA historicals, allow me to present this as a thesis.
Profile Image for Hannah Elisabeth .
168 reviews19 followers
September 10, 2022
This book was really good! I enjoyed the story; seeing the sisters leave the comfort of their home in England for something completely unknown to them. I loved how the sister stuck together and encouraged and supported each other. I myself have two sisters, so I love a good sister story/series! This, to me, was more of a character driven story than plot driven. Fair warning, it is kind of slow. But the pacing of it worked, in my opinion. I really loved, and if anyone picks it up, I hope you do too! I can’t wait to finish this series!😊

Trigger Warnings🚨
Slavery and the prejudices involved with that
Mentions of physical and mental abuse from Keturah late husband
Profile Image for Aimee (Getting Your Read On).
2,969 reviews245 followers
February 7, 2018
3.5 stars

After a slow start, I found myself really enjoying this book. It did take a bit for me to like the main character and feel some sort of emotional connection to her and the story but it did happen about half way through. The last third of the book the pacing picked up and things started happening. That time period and plantations are fascinating to me. So exotic and adventurous, yet so perilous. The author did a good job of capturing all those elements. The slavery that existed is so hard to read about and so, so awful yet plays a large part in stories like this.

I loved the idea of three sisters banding together and forging a new life in the unknown. They learned and grew and I loved that they did that together. They took good care of each other.

I have to say that I LOVED the River of Time series by this author. It's one of my very favorites. I didn't love this book like I did those but I will probably come back for the next book because by the end I was very interested in the other sisters and where their stories may go.

Content: violence, slavery, kissing, Christian elements

- I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher at my request via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.
Profile Image for Tressa (Wishful Endings).
1,724 reviews186 followers
March 12, 2018
KETURAH is a breathtaking story of sacrifice, forgiveness, trust, and love as three sisters strive to succeed on their sugar plantation in the wild and unpredictable West Indies. These sisters face adventure from the beginning and continue to be challenged every step of the way, finding they must rely on each other, on friends, and on God if they are to survive. Fans of the genre and of this author are sure to love stepping into Keturah's story with much anticipation for the next book in this series! Highly recommended!

I have been meaning to read a book by this author for ages! I actually own several of her books, but haven't gotten to them. I was super excited when I saw this new series from her and grabbed the chance to review. I was quite satisfied that my high expectations were met! I felt the emotions from these characters, particularly Keturah, who is the main character. I could picture their lives, from their English home, to the ship they traveled on, to the island that would become their home. Through it all, the author weaved a story of forgiveness, trust, and romance. Not only did Keturah have to learn to trust others, she also had to learn to trust God and herself. I loved, loved these characters! They really came alive to me. There were so many sweet moments, as well as harrowing ones, moments of sadness, desperation, danger, and then humor and swoon-worthy romance. I also loved that I got to know the other two sisters as I read Keturah's story, and that there is still a bit of suspense lingering at the end of this one... just enough to build my anticipation for the danger and romance ahead for these strong women.

In the end, was it what I wished for? I loved this one from beginning to end! With the flush setting, memorable characters, and engaging plot, what is not to love? I really can't recommend this one enough! I'm happily anticipating the next book in this series.

Content: Some innuendo, violence, attempted rape, and references to abuse and an affair, but in the context of the story.
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through Litfuse Publicity, which did not require a positive review nor affect my review in any way.
Profile Image for Keturah Lamb.
Author 3 books45 followers
December 11, 2017
Now I usually stay away from historical romances (or any historical fiction for that matter). While I love history... I feel most historical books are simply a paragraph of history stretched over a novel. I like to compare this to G. A. Henty's novels which are a paragraph of fiction stretched over history. This is an exaggeration only on Henty's side, as he does have a little more fiction than that ;)

But when I saw this book had a main character that shares the same first name as me, I really wanted to read it despite the genre. ;)

Now, I'm probably not the best person to give a review on this book... because as I've already said, I like few historical fictions, and even fewer romances.

And I really despise when they make historical women feministic before their time.

I enjoyed Keturah's back story, as it was relateble, and gave her good reason for being distant toward men. I enjoyed the plantation work. I felt Keturah was too uppity and harsh with things being proper even as she did many things considered improper for the time.

The romance was bearable. Some kissing, mild fantasizing, observing people's looks.

The overall plot was very historical romance. I think fans of this genre will love the book. I am not interested in reading the rest of the series, though. It was entertaining to see my name in a book, but I don't wish to pursue that interest further ;)

I received a free e-copy of this book to review on my blog, which I will be doing soon.
Profile Image for Megan.
219 reviews45 followers
March 9, 2018
Lisa Bergren has long been one of my favorite authors, starting with her famous “River of Time” series. I was so excited for the chance to read and review her newest book, “Keturah,” the first book in the “Sugar Baron’s Daughters” series. I can say that I truly loved “Keturah!”

“Keturah” is a beautifully written story. I love Ms. Bergren’s engaging writing style that kept me turning pages and made me so invested in her characters. Even though this isn’t as fast-paced as her young adult novels, it’s still written in such a way that I was able to be fully engaged and read it quickly.

This story also deals with some heavier issues, like slavery and abuse. The main character has experienced physical and emotional abuse in the past, but nothing is described in detail. These topics didn’t bog the story down or make it depressing.

I love the way Ms. Bergren writes her characters. This book tells the story of three sisters embarking on a life changing journey. Obviously this is mainly Keturah’s story and it sounds like the other sisters will each get their own stories in subsequent books. Keturah has to learn to make her own way and take things one step at a time. She is a strong female character. The sisters have such a great bond and I fell in love with each sister.

Our hero, Gray, is very swoon-worthy! The way he cares for Keturah and looks after her is so sweet; even though his love is unrequited for a large part of the novel. He reminds me of my husband, which is high praise! I also love the strong faith many of the characters have. God is a large part in many of the main characters’ lives. There is such a great faith thread interwoven throughout this story. I definitely recommend this book!

Content: Ms. Bergren is one of the more “edgy” Christian fiction writers. I would probably rate this book PG-13. As I mentioned above, this book does deal with physical and emotional abuse, which could potentially be a trigger. Some other examples of content are: mention of rape and violence; reference to women of ill repute; talk of a man’s conquests; the word Negro is used in a historical context; a man eyes a woman’s bodice; allusions to abuse in a past marriage; mentions of a man getting drunk; people drink wine as part of a meal; sailors sing bawdy songs, references to tavern wenches and giving favors; a man swears, but the word is not actually written; slaves are nude when being auctioned and there is violence; talk of a woman being a man’s mistress.

Rating: I give this book 5 stars!

Genre: Christian fiction; Romance; Historical

I want to thank Litfuse Publicity, Lisa Bergren and Bethany House Publishers for the complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.
Profile Image for Suzie Waltner.
Author 7 books110 followers
February 15, 2018
In her new series debut, Lisa T. Bergren introduces readers to the sugar plantations of Indies—specifically the island of Nevis. Fair warning, reading this book just might make you long for a Caribbean vacation to experience the islands yourself.
Keturah is bound and determined (some call it tenacity, others call it stubbornness) to save her family’s plantation. In the process, she longs to prove her strength—both to herself and to others.
Bergren delves into the difficult and ugly realities of the time and place—slavery and abuse—while handling them with care, a delicate balance between the necessities of the time and the different treatment shown to others.
Amidst the challenges and dark sides of life on Nevis is the promise of second chances. In Keturah’s world, those abound—a second chance at life, at love, and to become the woman she longs to be.
Get swept away in the story of Keturah and her sisters as they leave their home in England, travel the seas, and discover the beauty and dangers—both seen and hidden—of life on-island. An epic read that already has me wanting more of the Banning sisters.
Disclosure statement:
I receive complimentary books from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including NetGalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
Profile Image for Maria Clara.
82 reviews42 followers
July 13, 2019
Just as satisfying the second time, if not even more. The historical research astounds me!

I was completely impressed with how organically Lisa Tawn Bergren connected the elements throughout this story.
Keturah Tomlinson knows the depth of hurt and grief. What she can't fathom is how much this will influence her towards good when she is challenged to live in a society surrounded by prejudice, slavery, and injustice.

Loss has blackened the Banning household and the three sisters decide to sail towards the West Indies and salvage their father's legacy there. But the land is enfolded by secrets which will challenge the girls to choose between bitterness or forgiveness, acceptance or isolation, rage or kindness.
The historical aspect was really well done and the love story grew sweetly and tenderly.
I`m surely looking forward to the next one.

*Many thanks to the publisher for providing an ARC. This is my honest review.
Profile Image for Sarah.
72 reviews12 followers
February 21, 2018
I didn’t enjoy this one as I hoped I would. I couldn’t get into it for the longest time, and Schubert creeped me out too much (and then didn’t see any punishment or consequences except losing his job!). Part of it was probably also the era - not one of my favorites. Then, Keturah and Gray felt a little flat; I couldn’t seem to get invested in them or their story.

The book was written well enough, and the author seems popular, so I’m sure another reader will enjoy this story!
Profile Image for Becky Van Daniker.
321 reviews99 followers
February 20, 2018
Lisa T. Bergren is one of my favorite authors so of course, I had to read her newest release, Keturah. I was captivated from the very first page. Readers will find a story about an independent woman and her sisters traveling across the Atlantic from England to the West Indies with the intent of running a sugarcane plantation alone.

The sisters find themselves surprised as they learn what the island is truly like. They were surrounded by slavery in England, but the slaves were treated as family. They were quite sheltered from it all, so when they come to Nevis they’re in for a shock.

God shines throughout the pages even though this does deal with somewhat heavy topics such as slavery and abuse. Keturah had been abused both physically and emotionally by her late husband. The author doesn’t share any graphic detail, especially since the abuse happened long before the story takes place. However, readers do watch the inner battles of one who has been abused. The author handles the topic with grace, love, and hope.

Overall, I quite enjoyed being transported back in time to a setting that I’ve never read about before. Highly recommended!

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.
Profile Image for Vanessa Hall.
Author 5 books129 followers
May 10, 2021
3.5 stars

I'm a bit torn how to feel about this book. The setting was really very interesting and unlike most books I've ever read. Most books that have to do with plantations are in the US, so it was nice to have a change to an island in the Caribbean. Also, the first part of the book took place during the journey over, so I suppose the boat was also a setting. Thankfully, this part of the story didn't last too long, but there was of course the expected storm and the drama associated with it. If you have an ocean crossing, you're bound to have a storm scene, so I can't fault the author too much for that. It was just a little too easy to guess what would happen next. The plot of the book moved along nicely, but I felt as if it got a little rushed and scattered near the end. Without giving too much away, a tragedy occurred, and I felt as if the characters' reactions and the whole deal in general was rather rushed.

Which brings me to the characters...I really enjoyed Keturah as a character. I appreciated her strength and resolve to take care of her sisters without relying on someone else to do it for her. Her relationship with her sisters was also nice, and I started liking the next sister in line for a book, Verity. (And her boyfriend, who sadly meets a bad end, judging from what I've heard. Poor guy...I liked you, Duncan. Good thing you have a handsome brother, hmm?) Anyway, the sisters had nice interactions between each other, and it's always enjoyable to have other relationships in books other than the ones between love interests. And speaking of love interests...Gray. I wanted to like the guy. He and Keturah had a nice background together, and he could have been such a great guy. But I kept getting the feeling that he was after her just to marry her. His thoughts were mildly creepy...kind of obsessive about her in a way? The romance overall was not great - it was a little too much for me, and there were some cringey lines in there that I could manage forgetting. I feel as if the story were Keturah's far more than Gray's, and the book could have been pulled off very well if only Ket's POV was included. Maybe then Gray wouldn't have been quite as off-putting?

Overall, though, I enjoyed this book. The moral was not super strong, but there was a theme of trusting the Lord and letting Him heal you. I would've liked more emphasis on this theme, but I appreciated what was in there, and I'm looking forward to reading the second book in the series!
Profile Image for Rebecca.
1,853 reviews97 followers
April 2, 2018

"Crop blight . . . Terrible drought . . . . Machinery failure . . . . Another overseer lost to the ague . . . Returns far less than the last . . .

Dire last words from a father to his three daughters; making Lady Keturah Banning Tomlinson all the more determined to take the future of her two younger sisters along with her to the West Indies, where they must turn their fledgling island fortunes aright. It was practically scandalous among polite society for three gentlewomen to board a ship unaccompanied, so when Keturah's childhood friend, Gray Covington, providentially plans to travel on the same ship, Keturah can't decide whether to be happy or childishly provoked. After all, Gray deserted their long standing friendship many years prior, when she needed him the most.

Gray Covington can't help but notice that Keturah has grown up into a beauty all her own. After enduring what he assumed to be a terrible marriage, before being widowed, Keturah has made it crystal clear that she never wants to be beholden to a man again. If only she would make an exception, for what she is about to face on the island of Nevis is guaranteed to test her independence to unfathomable limits.

"Keturah" is quite the wonder; spilling over with lush descriptive scenery, only to be interrupted with the harsh realities of island proprietorship that a single woman would surely encounter. The fragrance of romance from author to reader is a gift to be treasured, especially when sprinkled with nuggets of truth such as, "All God expects of us is to do our best, from morning to night. He doesn't expect us to do things that only He can accomplish . . . "

Well said, Gray Covington!
Profile Image for Julie Graves.
897 reviews27 followers
February 1, 2018
Keturah and her sisters, Verity and Selah set sail for the island of Nevis to try and redeem their fortune after their father dies. What they find when they arrive is shocking to say the least. Their first encounter on the island is with a slave auction. While their family have always had slaves they were always treated well. Never have the girls been exposed to the human terror and torture of slaves just off the ships. Once they arrive on their plantation another surprise awaits them. Another reason for Keturah to never trust another man. Determined to provide for her family and their slaves Keturah works hard to find an overseer for their plantation. But the men of Nevis are determined that a woman will not run her own plantation so they plot against her. Gray has also come to Nevis to try his hand at raising sugar cane on an adjacent plantation. He has also promised the girls' uncle that he would keep an eye on them. Will the hardships that they face on-island bring them together or will the girls be sent back to England defeated?

I love Lisa T. Bergren's writing! Keturah reminded me a bit of Scarlet O'Hara! Two strong females determined to make it in a man's world. As the author herself says in the notes at the end of the book, the slavery was hard to depict. It was also hard to read! So many gritty scenes that caused me to want to look away or skip, but were reality for the times. I loved Keturah, Verity and Selah's characters! All of them strong and ready to take their place on-island. When faced with adversity they are ready to close ranks and stand together! I was swept away in this story and am now missing the characters and can't wait for Verity's story.
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,979 reviews552 followers
March 17, 2018

Keturah is the first book in Lisa T. Bergren's The Sugar Baron's Daughters series and, after reading a couple not-so-positive reviews when starting the book, I wasn't sure how much I would enjoy the story. But, I kept reading and I'm so glad I did! The writing style was very easy to read and I had no problem following the story (I think this was due to the author making the language a bit more contemporary).

I liked the characters pretty much right away and the romance was nice. Keturah's sisters are great and I am eager to read their stories. I think the one already met her love interest in this story and it looks like that will be a great tale. :)

All in all, I enjoyed Keturah. There was a tiny portion of the book where my interest waned, but other than that it was a good book. However, if you are a history buff you might find some issues in the story. I'm not bothered by stuff like that usually, but I just thought I would mention that others had trouble with the historical aspects.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*
Profile Image for Kelly.
395 reviews
March 12, 2018
Keturah  is the first book in the new historical fiction series, The Sugar Baron's Daughters, by Lisa T. Bergren. The story begins as its main character, Keturah, and her sisters learn of their father's death (their mother died years earlier) and make a rash decision to sail alone from England to the Caribbean island of Nevis in hopes of turning around their newly inherited sugar plantation that has suffered from drought and other hardships. Providentially also sailing for Nevis to take over his own recently acquired plantation is a childhood friend, Gray Covington. Defying social norms and wise warnings from their cousin (who offers to go in their place) and other businessmen, the young ladies set off on the six-week voyage to the West Indies, which is only the beginning of their challenging endeavor. Once "on-island" the Banning sisters come face to face with their naivete, along with the harshness of island life—the slave trade, mafia-esque business dealings, disease, natural disasters. In the end, the sisters' success, and even safety, depends on Keturah's willingness to "get over herself" and accept the help of Covington, and several others, in farming their plantation and fending off their villainous neighbors.

Keturah is a new historical time period for me (the Georgian era) and a unique setting (the Caribbean). On the surface, this makes for an interesting novel, with brief historical, political, and societal references (British peace with France, the American colonies, slavery, social class, marriage, etc.). This book was more intense and "edgy" than others in the inspirational fiction genre broadly, because of the setting (more dangers, risks, illness, etc. than, for instance, a modern-day ranch in Texas) and darker subjects like abuse, slavery, patriarchal society, etc. Bergren doesn't shy away from rough realities. Yet neither does she fail to capture the juxtaposed beauty of the island, with vivid descriptions of lush foliage and the sparkling ocean.

Nevertheless, the story isn't as interesting as the scenery or the setting. The overall plot was all too predictable (and there were loose ends that I wished had better resolution or at least clarification), especially with the "romance" aspect specifically all too familiar (childhood crush returns, transformed, and the infatuation returns as well, despite tiring denial of feelings). I didn't understand Keturah's decision to rush off to the West Indies, as if it was their only option; it seemed a false dichotomy, lacking better explanation for 21st C. readers, that they needed to "make their own way in the world" or become destitute. Personally, Keturah's veiled past (it's inferred that she suffered an abusive marriage until her husband's death) seems long and drawn out, almost in a way stunting her character development; it's the elephant on the page, so to speak. Because of her first marriage, Keturah has it out against all men (including Covington, of course), denying any possibility of love or marriage again, and yet, despite how often as she has flashbacks to her regretful past, Keturah seems all too trusting of men (except Covington), acting brashly and sometimes foolishly, e.g. going alone to confront a neighboring plantation's overseer with a known bad reputation. While Covington was a little less inconsistent, his character seemed to waffle somewhat between swashbuckling and standoffish, apparently struggling with his desire to protect (and love) Keturah and an (again, stereotypical) "I can't have her"/"I missed my chance" despondency. Lastly, on a more general note, the dialogue was distracting to me: a bit clunky and unnatural, even though the author states in the Historical Notes that she "made the language a bit more contemporary".

Keturah has an interesting setting and premise, but for me the plot and characters disappointed my initial interest. The more fiction of this type/caliber I read, the more I sometimes find myself rewriting (potential) plotlines, and this was one such book—what about a plot twist involving Keturah falling in love with her African overseer (albeit a freed slave, that would speak more poignantly to Keturah's sense of justice and her against-the-grain mentality than any of her other rebellious actions, not to mention to the issue of slavery, etc. as raised throughout the book)? or what if the illegitimate son from the sisters' father's affair with his female slave (at least as alluded to, though never clarified) was actually from their mother's affair with one of their African slave-servants in England before she died, sent to be raised on the island so as not to shame the family's reputation? ...But, unfortunately, there was no such twist or development beyond the predictable in Keturah as written. Content note: some mature themes, some more detailed than others (though discreet, nothing graphic), referencing marital abuse, rape, adultery, sensuality/sexual innuendos, as well as slavery/slave trade, violence, gambling, and alcohol.

Disclaimer: This book was received for free from Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group, in exchange for my honest review. Note as with all reviews and references, I do not necessarily agree with (or am even aware of) any or all of the beliefs, views, etc. of the author; please read my disclaimer here.
Profile Image for Ashley Nikole.
Author 5 books32 followers
December 11, 2017
Loved "Keturah" so much. What a delightful read! I fell in love with the characters and setting- getting invested in their struggles and triumphs and relationships. I loved every bit of it, and I cannot wait for the next book in the series!! I think this series will have a special place in my heart :)
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
138 reviews
November 23, 2018
A strong start to what promises to be a great series. I did find it hard to connect with Keturah but I'm incredibly excited to read Verity and Selah's stories.
1,624 reviews
March 9, 2018
Keturah, what an adventure it was to embark with you from England and to travel with you to the island of Nevis.

Taking place during 1772, Keturah and her two sisters decide their only option left to them after the death of their father, is to sail to their plantation of Tabletop on the island of Nevis. Their fortunes are dwindling and their only hope is to see about getting the plantation up and running and prosperous again.

Keturah, who is a widow, has vowed to never marry again after enduring a cruel marriage with her now late husband. She was a stubborn woman, and that stubbornness was born out of necessity. Enter childhood friend Gray Covington, second son, who is also sailing to the same island to revive his family’s plantation and to make his own fortune.

Gray was such an endearing character, a changed man from his younger carefree years. He has learned much and has turned from his old ways after a certain pivotal point in his life: the marriage of his closest friend Keturah. His love for her was beautiful to read about, his patience and his understanding of her new found independence, and in his wooing of her. There are some really poignant scenes in this novel but the one that really got to me is when Gray finally comes to himself and sees what a fool he has been.

Keturah as stated above is a very stubborn woman. I really at times became frustrated with her at her reluctance and cold shoulder towards Gray when all he wanted to do was to protect her. However author Bergren does give us hints of her earlier marriage with her late cruel husband that would certainly shape and distort Keturah’s views of all men. Not to mention the secrets her father kept hidden from them that he thought would never see the light of day or the treatment these women received at the hands and prejudices of the other men on the island which all in turn shaped her view of men.

This was a really good read. I was awed with author Bergren’s weaving of her story. I look forward to the rest of the series.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.

Profile Image for Raechel Lenore.
Author 3 books22 followers
March 9, 2018

I love the cover of this book – it is definitely one that draws you in. The story setting was quite a unique one, which I enjoyed!

It was adventurous, three sisters deciding to set out on their own to an unknown place. I admired how the sisters banded together; their bond was very sweet.
This book focused primarily on Keturah – the title of the book indeed. :) We learn from the beginning that her first marriage was not a good one. That was sad, and all too true for many. I liked the message that God does desire for everyone to be loved well, as He cherishes us.
Because of her previous abuse, her actions were very understandable. Her determinedness to never be ruled by a man made sense due to her background pain. I hurt for her when her painful memories resurfaced.

However, I guess personally, I was a little concerned with how ‘glorified’ it was to put yourself above men – to the point where she reveled in donning men’s clothing at one point. And granted, the act was reasonable in itself for what was needing to be done at that point, but I think during that time period especially, it would have felt very odd and not been so…glorified. I know most people just adore the ‘strong female lead who doesn’t need any man’, but I guess they’re just not my favourite. Yes, woman are capable – not denying that at all – but I don’t think that means we need to constantly be rising above the men.

This is not to say I didn’t have compassion on Keturah’s suffering and what made her feel this way – I did get that. I was just hoping for some more healing portrayed. Learning that yes, we are whole in Jesus (hallelujah!), but also that God created men and women alike, and we don’t have to be so independent. God created us to be wholly dependent on Him and to need each other, as Paul tells us constantly in God’s word.

The setting of this book, Nevis Island, was very well portrayed. Beauty and danger wrapped into one.

I also liked the reoccurring theme spoken between the characters, of “One limb at a time” – meaning that we can only take each day as it comes. A very wise – and Biblical – thing. :)

I’m guessing, from the title of the book and series and way this book was, that each book will focus individually on each sister. I must say, I am very much looking forward to Verity’s book – I really loved her character, and would love to see more of her. And Captain McKintrick. :D

So yes, in conclusion, I enjoyed this book though personally struggled with the one aspect, but I do look forward to the next. :)

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.
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