The Promise of Breeze Hill
By Pam Hillman
Published by Tyndale
416 Pages

ABOUT BOOK: Natchez, MS; 1791
Anxious for his brothers to join him on the rugged frontier along the Mississippi River, Connor O’Shea has no choice but to indenture himself as a carpenter in exchange for their passage from Ireland. But when he’s sold to Isabella Bartholomew of Breeze Hill Plantation, Connor fears he’ll repeat past mistakes and vows not to be tempted by the lovely lady.

The responsibilities of running Breeze Hill have fallen on Isabella’s shoulders after her brother was found dead in the swamps along the Natchez Trace and a suspicious fire devastated their crops, almost destroyed their home, and left her father seriously injured. Even with Connor’s help, Isabella fears she’ll lose her family’s plantation. Despite her growing feelings for the handsome Irish carpenter, she seriously considers accepting her wealthy and influential neighbor’s proposal of marriage.

Soon, though, Connor realizes someone is out to eliminate the Bartholomew family. Can he set aside his own feelings to keep Isabella safe?

REVIEW: My heart was held captive by this Gone with the Wind feel of a story. I quickly bonded with the characters as I imagined Isabella Bartholomew to be a little like Scarlett. She had to grow up fast after her father’s injuries had him physically unable to do much. She soon becomes the heart of Breeze Hill and is responsible for its day to day functions. Behind Isabella’s sweet southern bell exterior, readers could see her fierce love for the Plantation and her keen sense of responsibility as she is willing to sacrifice her own happiness to save her home and protect her family.

The author helps readers get under the skin of the characters and feel their pain, joy and struggle in hard hopeless times. I enjoyed the splash of romance which is not the main focus of the story. I enjoyed the special moments that left me teary eyed and cheering!  

Readers meet Connor who had apprenticed under John W. Benson, renowned master craftsman from the Carolinas. He died and left him up for grabs. He needed a benefactor in order get his brothers to America.

 “Sold,” Bloomfield’s gavel beat a death knell against the table in front of him. “To Miss Isabella Bartholomew on behalf of Breeze Hill Plantation.”

“Cold dread swooshed up from Conner’s stomach and exploded in his chest.”
“A woman. He’d been indentured to a woman….God help him.”

I felt for this man as he found himself in a precarious place after the death of his benefactor. Connor would not be done in by another pretty face. He had been masterfully manipulated by his previous plantation owners’ daughter in Ireland.  It’s the very thing that had him on the run to America in the first place.

Connor, Isabelle, and her father became increasingly concerned about the danger lurking in the shadows. How would she fight them? They start to prepare. I enjoyed how Isabell, her father, and Connor grow and change as the story progressed. Connor soon discovers he has the same values as Isabelle. He too would do whatever it took to have his family united again

She ignores her feelings for Connor to entertain several marriage proposals being presented. She had to think about her family. These were offers from wealthy and influential neighbors interested in her for her property. Could these very men be the ones out to steal Breeze Hill from them? Sabotage their livelihood? The author has a part where she writes in the POV of the villain which made him creepier. I liked that the author had a few surprises involving the villain I didn’t see coming.

I loved this page-turning story with lots of action, suspense and just plain fun that included a horse race while ladies shopping about town. Sit back and enjoy this novel that will stay with you long after you close the book. This would make a great book club pick there is so much to discuss and the author includes 12 discussion questions. This is the first novel I’ve read by this author it won’t be the last.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 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”

Nora St. Laurent
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