Celia Browning dreams of the day when her childhood sweetheart Sutton Mackay comes home to Savannah after two years in Jamaica managing his family's shipping interests. Sutton has all but proposed, and their marriage will unite two of the city's most prominent families. But just as Sutton returns, a newspaper reporter arrives in town, determined to pry into twin tragedies that took place at the Browning mansion on Madison Square when Celia was a child.
While the journalist pursues his story, someone is trying to frighten Celia. When she receives a series of anonymous notes, and a bracelet imbued with a chilling message, Celia realizes that her family’s past has the power to destroy her future.
As the clouds of war gather over Savannah, and her beloved father’s health worsens, Celia determines to uncover the truth about what really happened all those years ago.
Inspired by actual events in one of Savannah’s most prominent 19th-century families, The Bracelet is the story of a young southern woman whose dreams fracture under the weight of her family’s tragic past.
You’re probably wondering why I’m reviewing what looks like a historical romance on a suspense blog. I wasn’t expecting to—I’d planned simply to review this on my own blog, where I review a lot of Christian historical fiction. But when I was about a third of the way through the book there was an ‘oh my!’ moment that turned The Bracelet from a run-of-the-mill historical novel into something more.
Even before that moment there had been an undercurrent of suspense, with an anonymous note, visits from the journalist, and a secondary character who doesn't quite behave the way she ought (and this is the South in the late 1850’s. Everything was about keeping up appearances, behaving as you ought, and hoping your reputation wasn't destroyed by circumstances beyond your control).
There’s also the undercurrent of the forthcoming election, the appearance of that man Lincoln from Illinois as a candidate, the ongoing discussions about slavery and the possibility of war which add to the suspense, because we all know that’s not going to end well for the city of Savannah.
The Bracelet is a combination of mystery and suspense. Is there any truth to the journalist’s stories? Who is sending the anonymous notes? Where did the bracelet come from? Is the threat real? Celia seeks to find the truth to these questions at the same time as she is planning a her wedding to childhood sweetheart.
The writing is excellent, and while the plot is fiction, the house in which Celia and her cousin live is real. I saw one of the twists coming, but that left at least three more that came out of nowhere, but as with all good mysteries, they were twists which were painfully obvious in hindsight, and tied up all the loose ends.
This is the first book I've read by Dorothy Love, but I’m sure it won’t be the last. Excellent reading.
About Iola Goulton:
I am a married mother-of-two, living in the sunny Bay of Plenty, New Zealand. I play the tenor horn in the local Brass Band, do scrapbooking and cardmaking as hobbies.
I blog at www.christianreads.blogspot.com and http://australasianchristianwriters.blogspot.co.nz/, and I work as a self-employed fiction editor (www.christianediting.co.nz) and HR consultant (www.bayreward.co.nz). You can also find me on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/ChristianReads) Twitter (@IolaGoulton) or Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/iolasreads).