Title: Uneasy Fortunes
Publisher: Cedar Fort Imprint: Sweetwater
Author: Mandi Ellsworth
Category: Historical romantic fiction
I’m not sure how I ended up with this book to review because I don’t usually read historical fiction, but I’m really glad I read this gentle rustic romance inspired by a true story of the post–Civil War South. When I discovered that there weren’t any fantasy elements in it, I almost decided not to continue reading, but somehow, despite the huge pile of exciting stories waiting in my TBR pile, I couldn’t move on to anything else. Eventually, I realised that I cared deeply about the characters and that no way was I going to leave them hanging. In the end, the book left me inspired by the healing power of love, the theme of this book. It was a warm and wonderful feeling that remained long after I read the last page.
The writing was very simple which I wondered at, at first, but then I realised that it fitted the story perfectly, because it was about simple people in a more simple time. The strength of this book is in the depth of its wonderful characters.
Pete, battered by his father & the early death of his mother, then left working to pay of the debt his father left after his death, had a stutter that he hid by not speaking at all for several years. When he’s finally finished paying his father’s debt, he moves on and works on a farm for an honourable man with two daughters. One of them is unmarried but has a child. Though many people in the small town find this a reason to shun her, it doesn’t bother Pete; he simply doesn’t think it’s his business. He evaluates people on what he sees, and he sees that June is both beautiful and good. He stays away from her though, because in his experience, the only thing romance brings is pain. Also, she doesn’t seem to like him.
June has suffered terribly at the hands of a man and isn’t about to let any man get near her. Her beautiful little boy is the result of a rape, a rape where the man responsible is still running free and calling her a slut. He, and another of the other male characters in the story represent the worst of men, while Pete and June’s father represent the best of men. The difference is stark. Pete’s good looking, but it’s his gentleness, patience and respect for June, and his selflessness in his desire to protect her, that make him truly beautiful and powerful.
Time alone isn’t enough to heal June and Pete isn’t going to make a move on her – this isn’t one of those hot and heavy romances – but a series events draw them together and in the end it’s the power of true love that heal them both. I loved this book and give it 5 stars.