From what I read of the description for this novel and its reviews, I was excited to start reading it. What was there not to be hopeful about? An historic romance set in the early days of the Civil War complete with a dashing and successful businessman, a beautiful and wealthy debutant, her parents that dislike the young man, and the promise of a myriad of problems inhibiting to their romance. It sounded like Pride and Prejudice meets Gone with the Wind. I was prepared to be riveted.But I wasn’t. I never deeply connected with any of the characters, not the dashing young man nor the femme fatale. They were the cause of their problems, and not in that oh-so-cruel twist-of-fate way, but more in the “you can’t be serious, no one would do that” mien. The romance wasn’t really there unless you count lust. Some of the stereotypical dialect left me uncomfortable. I was also taken back by some of the expenses/prices tossed about from a hush money payment to the price of a slave woman and child ($1200 where I found with some research that $200 to $500 was average). The book is fairly well edited with only minor errors of dropped quotations and an odd capitol ‘M’ that showed up in the middle of words throughout the novel (making me think I was missing a cypher hidden in the novel). The first few chapters are written in third person limited POV, but this quickly changes to an omniscient third person POV for the rest of the novel, sometimes containing the thoughts of two characters in one paragraph. An early switch from someone pondering the potential for civil war to a different character spreading a blanket under a tree for a picnic jarred me. I never really found my flow in the novel after that. I’m an author as well. I know what a task and amazing feat it is to write a novel. Maybe other people will (and have from the reviews) connect with this story better. For me, it reminds me of some of my early writing: things which I wish had stayed in the slow cooker a little longer until the depth and flavor developed more.