This has some uncomfortable themes even in today's world. But the characters really are characters, and the times fairly portrayed. A facinating early work of this author who has gotten better over the years.
An innocent Mississippi wildflower in the early bloom of womanhood, headstrong Jessie Lindsay will do anything to thwart the charming fortune hunter who has come to wed her widowed stepmother. But, there is far more to Stuart Edwards than Jessie first imagines. For one are the dangerous secrets they must share in the blistering heat of a southern summer - and reckless desires propelling them both towards scandal, possible ruin...and impossible love.
Their destinies intertwined on a sprawling plantation in the heat of a blistering Southern summer-a young Mississioppi wildflower in the early bloom of womanhood and a brazen riverboat gambler living the dangerous secret life of another man. An untouched beauty and an unscrupulous rogue, they were damned by forbidden desires in a rigid world of lace and propriety-as two reckless hearts courted shame, scandal, and ruin in desperate pursuit of a breathless, impossible love...
First publication of a 1990 book, so the cover differs from the one showed. Its a wonderful romance, one of my favorites.
The main (male)character of this book is a Rhett Butler with even more attitude.....
In the hot south, Clive McClintock wins a large bet and that very same night has it stolen away from him. Killing one of the robbers's, he smoothly takes on his identity (that of Stuart Edwards). Shortly after, he meets and marries a beauty named Celia. Sadly, it is a marriage of conveniance because the sole purpose that he marries her is because because of Mimosa, her cotton-abundant land. This marriage of conveniece was not a happy marriage. Celia also cames with some bittersweet baggage, a stepdaughter named Jessie, from her previous marriage.
At first, Jessie is too much to handle. welll...almost.. She rebells against her 'stepmama' and is totally against the marriage. But the more she gets to know Stuart , the more she likes and befriends him. When her crush makes fun of her clothes, Stuart is there to cheer her up. When she tells him that she hasn't bought anything for herself in 3 yrs, he takes care of it and gets her clothes that actually fit. He befrieds her and falls for her but when she fings out that she isn't really who he said he was .....all hell breaks loose. "Veni, Vini, vici ..i came, i saw i conquored" this is exactly what Stuart/Clive seems to be doing with Jessie's home and heart.