The Last Heiress by Mary Ellis


This novel is very intriguing. Mary Ellis has woven an interesting storyline with definitely interesting characters. She develops the characters in a slow-cooker kind of way so that the reader can savor every nuance. Not too slow, not too fast. Just right. It will keep you turning pages.

There are quite a few characters to keep up with, and the two sisters get a bit tangled up at times, but their characters are quite different so it is not hard to keep them separate. I won't talk about the ending, though, because it wasn't very satisfying for me. You may like it. Although not a main character, the husband of Amanda's sister did the most "growing up" in the book. That should have been the main character to do that. Ah, well, times are changing...

I definitely liked how Ellis incorporated some free Negros into her story. There were many more free than people have been taught. She did a very good job with that.

However, there were some things that were hard to swallow. Some situations were very heavy-handed such as without any indication whatsoever on the part of Amanda's sister having a mean streak, she ordered a couple of slaves to kneel in salt for hours upon end while she napped. That was over the top. It is something I could believe the husband would do, not the wife. I just did not get the feel throughout the story that Ellis had really done her research well. It felt like she had taken all the stereotypical scenarios  and pasted them into her story. Another thing is how modernisms were sprinkled throughout.

I made note of a few of them, but I can't find that paper I wrote them on now. Sigh... I do remember one. Women were not allowed to enter eating establishments without escort, nor were they allowed to eat by themselves. The sisters went to a hotel restaurant by themselves. That would not have happened, especially since one of them was unmarried. Another thing is shrimp was caught, cooked and served within about a two hour time limit as shrimp spoils quickly in hot, Southern summers. Those are the only two I remember.

One very good thing was the similarities and the differences between the Brits and the Southerners view of slavery and servanthood. Good research alignment there.


Bestselling author Mary Ellis (A Widow’s Hope) presents The Last Heiress, a new romantic standalone that intertwines the lives of a British manufacturing heiress and an American merchant caught in the turbulent time of the War Between the States.
When Amanda Dunn sets sail from England for Wilmington, North Carolina, she hopes to somehow restore shipments of raw materials for her family’s textile mills, which have been severely disrupted by the American Civil War. Though there is not much one individual can do, the wealthy young woman feels she must try, as her mother and hundreds of employees at Dunn Textiles are dependent on Southern cotton.
When Amanda meets Nathaniel Cooper, her desire to conduct business and quickly return to England changes. Though captivated by one another, neither is fully aware of the other’s true nature.
Nathanial, who on the outside appears to be a poor but hardworking merchant, is actually a secret Yankee sympathizer who will stop at almost nothing to bring about freedom for those who live under subjugation, even when that involves questionable judgment. And Amanda’s wealth is made possible by underpaid workers living in slums around the mills, not much different than American slavery.
Can these two earnest souls find the best in one another rather than focus on what could tear them apart? And though they both believe they are on God’s path, how will their decisions affect those around them?

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