The Promise of Breeze Hill (2017) by Pam Hillman is the first book in the Natchez Trace series. This novel comes in all forms including eBook, and is 416 pages in length. With a crazy-busy full-time job and a precocious five year old at home, this novel took me six days to read. I give this novel 4 STARS. This book is a Christian Historical Romance.
About the Book
Natchez, MS; 1791
Anxious for his brothers to join him on the rugged frontier along the Mississippi River, Connor O’Shea has no choice but to indenture himself as a carpenter in exchange for their passage from Ireland. But when he’s sold to Isabella Bartholomew of Breeze Hill Plantation, Connor fears he’ll repeat past mistakes and vows not to be tempted by the lovely lady.
The responsibilities of running Breeze Hill have fallen on Isabella’s shoulders after her brother was found dead in the swamps along the Natchez Trace and a suspicious fire devastated their crops, almost destroyed their home, and left her father seriously injured. Even with Connor’s help, Isabella fears she’ll lose her family’s plantation. Despite her growing feelings for the handsome Irish carpenter, she seriously considers accepting her wealthy and influential neighbor’s proposal of marriage.
Soon, though, Connor realizes someone is out to eliminate the Bartholomew family. Can he set aside his own feelings to keep Isabella safe?
I enjoyed reading this highly engaging novel. The action! My goodness, so much action! Every time I turned a page there was another struggle on Isabella’s plantation, or a crazed herd of wild boars stampeding, or a knife-wielding villain out to kill someone, or another fist fight. The action is awesome. There is literally no way to be bored by this book. In fact, a couple of times I was hoping for a little more down time so I could regain my breath! LOL!
I really loved the characters in this book. The villains are genuinely villainous. They feel authentic as criminals, ranging from low class, uneducated thieves to power-hungry, wealthy plantation owners willing to do anything for another dollar. Sometimes you read a novel, and the bad guy feels stereotypical (bad guy mustache and all), but that was not the case with this book. I was truly worried for Isabella a couple of times when she had the great misfortune of being in these men’s presence.
As for the hero and heroine, Connor and Isabella are lovely! I very much enjoyed watching the course of their relationship play out. Both characters feel real. Connor, a handsome Irish man, becomes Isabella’s indentured servant. He works incredibly hard not to fall in love with Isabella, but that doesn’t quite work out. There is great tension at the beginning of the story between the two leading characters. And, he is a genuine hero. He constantly steps in and saves the day putting his own life on the line for several of the characters. He’s a swoon-worthy leading man!
I felt really badly for Isabella at the beginning of the book. She has to overcome so much: abandonment, the death of a loved one, an ailing father, and several death threats. Not to mention, she is trying desperately hard to keep her plantation up and running even though someone is setting her up for failure. It’s a lot! But, none of it feels overdone or over-the-top. Sometimes life really does give you lemons, and life walloped Isabella with a whole barrel full! But, she goes through her storms and overcomes these issues very realistically and, by the end of the novel, with her faith in God stronger than ever. Her happy ending is truly deserved!
Overall, I highly recommend this novel. There is great action and intrigue, a sweet romance, great family presence, and a great theme: when in doubt, rely on God. He will get you through the toughest of storms! I am glad that I picked this book up, and look forward to more stories in this series.