Sophia's Reviews > Sweet Release

Sweet Release by Pamela Clare
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's review
Apr 06, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: historical-romance

I love the Early American Colonial period for its raw frontier adventure feel so I picked up this book and settled in for a good read. I was not disappointed though this would not be a book that a person who leans more toward the historical than the romance in their fiction should probably enjoy as much. Not that it was inaccurate! It was just more character and plot driven in its focus.

The story begins in London where we are introduced to Alec Kenleigh, the owner of a prosperous shipbuilding firm. Alec works with his brother in law and tries to keep his younger, wastrel of a brother in line. He gives his younger brother, Phillip is given an ultimatum after the last mess up. Soon after this, Alec is attacked and switched with a indentured convict, Cole Braden, to be shipped out to the Americas to work on a plantation for 14 years.

The scene then shifts to the Virginia tobacco plantation owned by the Blackwell family. Cassie Blackwell, due to the need for secrecy regarding her father's condition, is now running her father's plantation alone and looking after her young brother, Jamie. She is in need of more workers because she has big plans to get the plantation out of debt and buys two men from the 'soul driver'. She purchases the white convict looking more dead than alive, Cole because she saw that he would die without care.

Alec wakes up and finds himself in a nightmare. He is mistaken for a convict who ravished women, he has barely survived a sea voyage, and now he is someone's property for the next 14 years far from all that he has known. In the place of his absent owner, he finds that his mistress is a pretty woman who both attracts and repels him at the same time.

While Alec and Cassie adjust to each other and work with the others to keep the plantation going as Alec waits for word from England, Geoffrey Crichton a young man from a neighboring plantation gets jealous of Alec because he wants Cassie for himself. Geoffrey stirs up all kinds of trouble not the least of which is setting a killer onto Cole and plotting to get Cassie by any means he can even if she is unwilling.

The last half of the book is very thrilling between Geoffrey's wicked plotting and the building romance between Alec and Cassie. It kept crescendoing to a big ending and just when I thought it was over- nope, there was more excitement. I won't go into detail so it is not spoilt for anyone.

As I said, the plot was strong and stayed that way. The book was written to switch points of view so multiple voices were heard. It was interesting knowing what many were thinking and it was not hard to follow the switches. Knowing Alec and Cassie's thoughts was helpful because they definitely were misunderstanding one another for a while. Alec and Cassie's relationship was handled well. Yes, they felt the spark of interest which they both explore a bit, but the complication of their circumstances was not forgotten and I was glad to see this as it made it more realistic. Eventually, their passion does overpower them, but even then there is still no easy 'I love you and all the barriers will go away now'. Their love is really tested in a few different ways before all is said and done.
There are also side story lines like the little romance between Zach and Elly and that between Luke and Nettie. There was also Geoffrey's inner thoughts to show why he did what he did. I wanted to hate him and I did, but there was a little part of me that pitied him too because of knowing his thoughts.

The characters were well written. I enjoyed how each character whether minor or major had a persona when they were introduced. The people on the plantation and in the overall community were not just props and foils for the main characters. I cracked up over Nan, the cook. Now there was a gal one didn't mess with and she had a no-nonsense way of talking.

I noticed after I read this that this was Pamela Clare's debut effort. Truthfully, I found that hard to believe as this rivals some of the best writers of the historical romance craft. I will definitely be seeking out more of her books.

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