The first two books in The Sugar Baron’s Daughters series by Lisa T. Bergren swept me from my comfortable couch to the wild jungles of Nevis during the start of the Revolutionary War. I’ve been eager to continue the story of the Banning sisters and see how all the conflicts they’ve faced are finally resolved in the third book, Selah.
Coming of age in the West Indies, Selah finds herself drawn to helping the slaves on her family’s plantation, the Double T. Jedidah Reed feels he also has been called to serve the slaves of Nevis. But as the two began an insecure courtship, threats of starvation and conflict due to the American Revolution and the less savory plantation neighbors throw the Double T into despair. Selah wants to help the slaves find freedom and security, but at what cost to herself or her family?
Once again, Lisa T. Bergren has crafted an intriguing, heartfelt story full of strong relationships and enough action to keep the story moving forward. While this book focuses on the love brewing between Selah and Jedidah, it’s much more than another romance story. Lisa’s stories focus on life: the ups and downs, the good and bad, and all the relationships that come with it. The romance is just one aspect of a whole. This story also focuses on the strong bond between the three Banning sisters and the people who live with them on the Double T plantation and the island of Nevis.
While this is Selah’s novel, I love that Keturah and Verity both play prominent parts in the story still. They help guide Selah in her decisions, and the conflicts that began in the other novels continue in this story. Keturah’s quarrel with Angus Shubert affects Selah’s choices and Verity’s involvement in the American Revolution prods Selah to do what she must to help her family and the people on the Double T.
Selah’s actions are the heart of the story, beyond her decisions when it comes to Jedidah. I love that Lisa gave her a deep love for the slaves on the plantations and great care for the good of everybody on Nevis. Her courage and bravery shines through when she makes nontraditional choices in regards to slavery and holds steadfast to her belief about doing whatever she can to help them have better lives through freedom and opportunity. These decisions reminded me that caring for and loving people, no matter when or where we live or who they are, is important.
While I wish there wasn’t so much heartache associated with Selah and Jedidah’s relationship, their romance was still sweet and adorable. Jed just might be my favorite of the three Banning love interests for the honest and open way he speaks about faith (though a Scottish pirate is definitely high up there too). I like how Lisa shows the two of them growing stronger in their faith right alongside the growth of their love for one another.
The descriptions and details of the beautiful islands alongside the horrible aspects of slavery give this story a life of its own. It truly makes you stop and think about life and other people. If you like historical fiction with fierce female characters, romance and espionage, and the call for justice, read this series.