The summer of 1887 pressed a blanket of damp heat down the Ohio valley, smothering the life out of the towns along the river.
This sentence captures the mindset of the antagonist, Jared, quite nicely and foreshadows what is to come.
I was hooked by the prologue which begins with Jared. At first, since I had no idea what the book was about, I was not sure what to think about Jared. He was being bought by the father of the woman he loved to leave her alone and he refused the money. But then he fights the poor old man and lets him drown shortly after. Obviously, Jared was not a very nice man, but he intrigued me enough to want to learn his story, and to learn what happens next.
What I found was a story about not only a woman’s abuse, Emma, and not so much her quest for freedom (she hides the abuse and intends on going back to Jared after her job on the riverboat), but about those people around her who bring her back to life.
I truly believe that we are influenced by those we choose to keep around us-- friends, family, lovers--this story has Emma around folks who see her for what she is: human, a hard worker, a good friend, and a beautiful woman. And she begins to believe them.
And of course, we have Jared who relentlessly pursues Emma, leaving a wake of murders behind him. The author does a great job in keeping the tension balanced and left me on the edge of my seat turning the pages, praying that good will prevail and that those around Emma don’t meet a terrible fate.
I read this book because it was one of the free ebooks offered by Barnes & Noble a few weeks back.
I really enjoyed it.