Sunday, August 9, 2009

Books I've read this week - Receive Me Falling

Receive Me Falling © 2009 by Erika Robuck

About the book: “Every slave story is a ghost story.

The haunting words of an historian and former cane worker on the Caribbean island of Nevis launch Meghan Owen on her quest to unlock the secrets of an abandoned sugar plantation and its ghosts.

After Meg’s parents die in a car accident on the night of her engagement party, she calls off her wedding, takes leave of her job in Annapolis, and travels to land she’s inherited on Nevis. A series of discoveries in an old plantation house on the property, Eden, set her on a search for the truth surrounding the shameful past of her ancestors, their slaves, and the tragedy that resulted in the fall of the plantation and its inhabitants.

Through a crushing phone call with her lawyer, Meg learns that her father’s estate was built on stolen money, and is being sued by multiple sources. She is faced with having to sell the land and plantation home, and deal with the betrayal she feels from her father.

In alternating chapters, the historical drama of the Dall family unfolds. Upon the arrival of British abolitionists to the hedonistic 19th century plantation society, Catherine Dall is forced to choose between her lifestyle and the scandal of deserting her family. An angry confrontation with Catherine’s slave, Leah, results in the girl’s death, but was it murder or suicide?

Hidden texts, scandalous diaries, antique paintings, and confessional letters help Meghan Owen uncover the secrets of Eden and put the ghosts to rest.”

I enjoyed this book very much. It was based on fact and I liked learning about the island of Nevis. It also gave a good description of what life was like for the sugar cane plantation owners and their slaves in the early 1800s. I found the early part of the story and the strong character of Catherine more interesting than the present-day chapters of Meg's life, but together they told a good story. The author threw a couple of curves into the story towards the end which changed the emotional feeling of the book. What an unexpected way to end the story!

This is Erika Robuck’s debut novel but she’s currently researching and drafting a novel set in Depression-era Key West around the home of Ernest Hemmingway.

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