The Reluctant Belle By Beth White

The aftermath of the Civil War left much loss and destruction in its wake. This was not only physical but also emotional. Joelle was trying to rebuild her and her sister’s lives by turning their grand home into a hotel. It was not an easy transition financially or otherwise. Her strength and determination were impressive, especially during a time when women were considered lesser than men. Her courage was even greater in her compassion and work to help the ex-slaves build lives with their new found freedom. There is no doubt that Joelle’s driving force in her integrity was her faith in God.
If only helping her family and the slaves was that easy. The war had left bitterness in the hearts of many men who did not agree with the outcome. Without national combat on their side, they crept into the woodwork, hiding their hatred and plotting in darkness. Like many, Joelle was unaware of exactly who these sinister people were until she was viewed as their enemy.
Schuyler Beaumont is a childhood friend of Joelle’s. He is wealthy and had a reputation before the war of being self-serving. It has changed him too, as also wants to help the newly freed people. The murder of his father during a political speech puts him on the path to find the killer. Working undercover he draws closer to finding his man, even going as far as to join the Ku Klux Klan.
This book is not only rich in historical facts but also in detail what those in the South faced after the Civil War. The characters are and in-depth. I saw there was another battle raging I had not considered after the last shot was fired. You hear of the evil workings of groups like the KKK but don’t realize how terrifying the people they targeted. In the midst of all this there is also romance and humor. A fantastic book!

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