This is a suspenseful novel and the writer does a great job of holding this suspense for 3/4's of the novel. I loved the descriptions of Belle Vie, a deep south Louisiana plantation where they still sponsor re-enactments of antebellum life daily. Caren lived on the plantation as a child and returned to live here with her daughter a few years prior to the start of the novel. When she returns, she realizes a lot has changed but there is also a lot that has stayed the same. The cook, a woman that has known Caren since she was a child, does things to work against Caren, who is the property manager. Caren attended law school for just shy of three years, quitting because of finances, she is forced to find work and the cook senses a kind of superiority in Caren.
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Caren is dedicated to the way life at Belle Vie. It is not just a job for Caren but a legacy since her ancestors worked the land as slaves during the 18th and 19th centuries. Everything about Belle Vie for her is nostalgic, from the bowing pecan trees that line the grand drive to Belle Vie to the slave cabins that are still in place, this novel evokes a time long ago. I loved the descriptions of the plantation and the hot, humid weather is a character in itself. When Caren finds a dead body one murky morning on her rounds, she slowly begins uncovering clues that lead her to the killer, which is the last person she suspects. This is a sweeping story that conveys details of history and modern day life on a sugar plantation in the south. You will be entertained.
Best part of story, including ending:
I really liked this story because it effectively juxtaposed events of more than a century ago with those that happened in present day. The plot of this story is air tight and the author manages to suspend the reader. There were passages that I was so afraid to read because the urgency that the writer created. You never knew what might happen. There was a lot that I expected to happen but was presently surprised by how anti-cliche and original the story was.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene is the description of the wedding that happens in the beginning of the novel. I love the glorious, antebellum setting, the grand architecture and the elegant description of the crowd. The snake falling out of the tree is a gory hint of what comes later.
Opinion about the main character:
I liked the strength of the main character. Caren is smart, strong and beautiful. Throughout the novel, the author did a great job of letting us see her vulnerable side, but also how she pushed beyond limitations to fulfill her mission. Caren was a wonderful example for women everywhere.