I didn’t read the first story in the Piper Huguley’s ‘Migrations of the Heart’ series, but I didn’t see any indication that it can’t be read as a standalone, so off I went. I wanted to like this story; I mean I really wanted to. Initially I thought that my expectations were too high, but is a good plot and a good (historical) romance from the perspective of this African American hero and heroine too high of an expectation? I will admit that one of my favorite romances of all time is Beverly Jenkins’ Indigo and if I can read a story that makes me feel and root, even a little bit, for the H/h the way that story did well that’s a plus.
On the other hand, if Huguley’s purpose was to give me a history lesson about the impact of Jim Crow laws and the degradation that one ethnicity of people can impart on another, then she did a fine job of that. Unfortunately as this is a historical romance, I really wanted a romance with history in the backdrop, but for some reason the weaving the two parts didn’t seamlessly join.
Again, I didn’t read the first story in the series, but as this story takes place after what seems like a 4 year gap, I’m going to say it’s safe to assume that WWI wasn’t part of that first story. A big part of this story is that our heroine, Margaret “Mags” Bledsoe, is running Paul Winslow’s plant while the men are off to fight for God and country during 1914 – 1918. But things in her part of the country are getting progressively violent. She’s already lost her childhood sweetheart to a lynching ordered by none other than Paul Winslow who also happens to be the grandfather of Margaret’s nephew. I’m not sure how Paul Winslow came to power, but I’m making another assumption that he inherited a lot of his wealth and power because the town carries his last name. There’s quite a bit of seedy and horrific acts of violence that have been carried out under Winslow’s command and Margaret’s self-fulfilled true purpose slowly unfolds.
Having returned from overseas a few months prior, journalist Asa Caldwell goes to Winslow, GA on the request of his friend, Ruby Morson. Ruby wants Asa to go down South to rescue her sister, Mags, and bring her to the North. With half his leg missing, Asa makes the trek down under the guise as the new mill foreman.
Of course Mags is rightfully upset that her job is being usurped by an interloper. After all, she’s losing the pay that’s supplemented her family. This sets the relationship between Mags and Asa. I expected sparks and laden chemistry, but I didn’t feel that. Instead I felt blah. There are a couple of stolen kisses between them with Mags’s libido getting piqued by the feel of Asa’s mustache. Oh, okay.
What I found surprising were Asa’s feelings that he couldn’t be a whole husband to Mags. Yes, he missing half his leg, but what did that have to do with his chosen profession? He’s a writer, how is a leg going to interrupt that? I think if anything, Asa’s thoughts of suicide could have been emphasized more. There were signs that I was on the lookout for – he really didn’t have any vices, per se, that helped him cope. I don’t even remember his waking with nightmares but then again, his injury wasn’t during war time action. An Army officer shot him twice in the leg because the answer to a question wasn’t what the office wanted to hear.
Then there’s Asa’s mother – my first impression her wasn’t good and I didn’t get over that feeling. Ruby and Adam were nice enough, I just didn’t feel the connection – same goes for the other Bledsoe family members. I enjoyed the last 15% of this story much more than I did the first 85%, but at least there’s an HEA, so there’s that.
Happy Reading Folks!
*Provided via NetGalley for review
Click to purchase: Amazon
A Most Precious Pearl
by Piper Huguley
Release Date: September 8, 2015
Publisher: Samhain Publishing