As I'm more of a romantic suspense reader, I was a little leery of reading one of Olga's older, historical novels, but I was NOT disappointed. In fact, after having read "Wrapped In Wishes" as well, I think I may like her historical even better than her recent suspense books!
The story takes place in the deep south sometime in the eighteen hundreds and Reynard-something, a private detective, has been sent to a little Southern town to investigate money laundering and also with a personal vendetta to kill the man who murdered his wife years ago. A young guy (completely forget his name) accompanies him as he's training to be a P. I. as well. It's really cool how she's able to mix in the intrigue part of suspense into this historical story that has great atmosphere.
It just so happens that the rich plantation owner Renard plans to catch in the money laundering plot (who killed his wife) is married to the beautiful young Mercedes, who Renard begins to feel a growing attraction to. However, this is conflicted with his feelings for Santana Rose, the beautiful lady bandit who acts sort of like Robin Hood with her band of bandits, robbing rich plantation owners and leaving a santana rose as her trademark. I don't want to give the story away, but you can guess Olga wouldn't leave poor Renard in a conflicted love triangle.
It is just such a neat story, full of intrigue and passion and suspense, with tones of the atmosphere and grandness of "Gone With the Wind." Although Mercedes and Santana Rose are believable, feisty heroines. Merecedes was actually captured by white slavers and forced to marry her husband when she was 12. This is why she stays married to her horrible husband--he holds the information to the whereabouts of sick, homeless girls she used to roam the streets with, insinuating that he has the power to hurt them. There's also an interesting sub-plot with Renard's young partner, and Mercedes step-daughter who's 17, I think. She gets captured by a group of voodoo slaves who hate her because of her wealthy family, they bury her alive and try to make her into a zombie.
It's just so good, and I know I'm going to have to read it again. It is definitely a story for the keeper shelf and has put Olga Bicos on my favourite authors list for good!