All Lydia wants is to travel the world before she has to settle down with a husband. But she may not have that choice anymore. April 1886. Debutante Lydia Jane Barrington lives a carefree, protected existence on Live Oaks Plantation in Florida. But while her sisters happily learn the traditional tasks of women and talk of courting, Lydia dreams of adventure and independence. Even her friendship with handsome Hamilton Scarbrough isn't enough to hold her back. Then one day Hamilton opens Lydia's eyes and her heart to love. But before they can receive permission to court, Lydia overhears a secret conversation about an unscrupulous business deal. Worse, it has everything to do with her and her future. Now she's faced with the biggest decision of her life-to concede or to fight. Either choice will require great sacrifice...and, perhaps, countless rewards. Passion. Friendship. A bitter enemy. A life-changing decision. Set in Victorian-era Florida.
I really enjoyed the romantic elements in this story and the ways the characters struggled in many areas of their lives. At first the writing style took some getting used to and was a bit slow for me to read, but I figured it was set during the Victorian era so the author was shooting for a Jane Austen type style, which worked for the story. I have to say that once I got used to the style and lost in the story, I couldn't stop reading. A few times I got tearful as well. The story broke my heart several times, but also filled it with joy on other occasions. I loved how God used the trials in Lydia's life to mature her. The twist in the story worked out well and I was pleased with the results.
By the story's end I was sighing with satisfaction. Yes, as a reader, I got my wish, though for awhile there I didn't see it coming. My heart hurt for Lydia and yet I saw how God worked everything out for her good as long as she trusted Him to send her on the path she needed to be on. Once she stopped fighting things and being angry, she became less selfish, which in turn made her a more beautiful person both inside and out. There were some great themes about sacrifice and how God uses different people in our lives at different times to teach us the things we need to learn to grow. I liked that part of the story a lot. I also loved the kissing scenes. The author really knows how to reel you in for those yummy moments. Most of all, I enjoyed seeing the characters mature not only in their personal lives, but in their faith. This story is a keeper for sure.