For readers who love a heartwarming romance and a rich historical setting comes a tale of a young woman with a heavy burden, the International Cotton Exposition, and the pursuit of true love.
Eighteen-year-old Laurel Millard, youngest of seven children, is expected to stay home and “take care of Mama” by her older siblings, but Laurel has dreams of starting her own family. Operating a silk loom at the Atlanta Exposition will give her the chance to capture the heart of a man wealthy enough to take care of Laurel and any children she might bear, as well as her mother.
Langdon Rochester’s parents have given him an ultimatum: settle down with a wife or lose his family inheritance. At the Exposition, Langdon meets Laurel. Marrying her would satisfy his parents’s command, she would look lovely on his arm for social events, and in her besotted state, he believes she would overlook him continuing pursuing rowdy adventures with his unmarried buddies. Langdon decides to woo Laurel. Willie Sharp is not well-off and must take on an extra job at the Atlanta Exposition as a security guard. When mischief-makers cause trouble in the Women’s Building, Willie is put in charge of keeping the building secure. He enjoys visiting with Laurel, who seems like the little sister he never had, but his feelings for Laurel change to something much deeper. Can Willie convince Laurel that he can give her better life–even with so little to offer?
I was disappointed in this book. The characters were simple – the protagonists kind, loving, genuine, selfless, etc. etc. and the antagonist selfish, rude, disrespectful, manipulative, etc. etc.. Laurel just wanted to find true love, Willie just wanted to take care of his father, and Langdon just wanted to continue doing whatever he wanted whenever he wanted. There was no good in the bad or bad in the good. My second big complaint is that Laurel was too conceding – there were so many times that Langdon would be openly rude or disrespectful to her and she would end up apologizing for being disagreeable enough to cause his behavior. My biggest complaint though, was that the plot line was so. incredibly. predictable. Most of the “heroine must choose between the rich guy and the poor guy” plots are predictable (she would look really bad if she did choose the rich guy), but this one was made even more so because Langdon was such a jerk, effectively eliminating all of the suspense about who she would end up with.
Overall, it wasn’t a bad book, but it also wasn’t a good book. There were no important messages or relatable characters. The only redeeming things were Ms. Warner and Mr. Rochester – Their sass did make me laugh on a few occasions. And the history of the exposition was interesting too. Other than that, the book just fell flat for me.
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I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.