Five years after the War Between the States, Selah Daughtry struggled to maintain her family home which was deeply indebted. When Levi Riggins proposes that she turns their estate into a hotel, she’s both intrigued and heartbroken. But Levi has his own agenda, one that he struggles to keep in mind as he falls in love with Selah.
My Review of A Rebel Heart
This was a great story. Postwar, there were some who still held grudges against the Union soldiers and those who had fought for the abolition of slavery, while others struggled to rebuild their lives in the aftermath.
The Characters in A Rebel Heart
I liked that the Daughtry women were willing to give their former slaves tools to be independent even though it must have made them uncomfortable at times. It showed strength of character.
I also liked that they were wiling to do the physical labour required without deferring to others to get it done.
Selah proved herself to be a strong character from the first page as she took charge of trying to steer her family in the next direction. The comradrie between her and her sisters was clear from start.
Levi had a strong desire to help people. That’s probably one of the things that made him so good at his job.
The romance between Levi and Selah was a slow burn beginning as a friendship that deepened over time.
The Themes in A Rebel Heart
There was a strong theme of forgiveness running through A Rebel Heart as each of the characters wrestled with forgiving someone for something.
Levi wrestled with forgiving himself for events that took place during the war, the former slaves tried to forgive their former masters for depriving depriving of their rights, and Selah fought to forgive herself for her family’s part in keeping the Negroes enslaved. Even young Wyatt had to wrestle with his own need to forgive the man he held responsible for his father’s death.
Readers will also see how unforgiveness can destroy from the inside out: not being able to forgive the men who killed his wife had a debilitating effect on Johnathan Daughtry.
Final Thoughts on A Rebel Heart
I read the Daughtry series out of order: A Reluctant Belle, A Reckless Love, then A Rebel Heart and it gave me a better understanding of how masterfully the plot was woven together. (I don’t recommend that you read the books out of order as they are better appreciated when read chronologically. )
Levi’s mixed feelings about being at Ithaca were understandable but I wished he had been able to tell Selah what had really happened that night himself. I think it would have given them both closure.
Ms. White was sensitive to how some of the newly freed slaves may have felt while also portraying their struggle to create new lives for themselves in an environment that had not prepared them to be independent and resented, in some parts, their freedom.
I liked that there were some scenes with the former slaves but I would have liked more insight into their viewpoint.
A Rebel Heart is a strong beginning to the Daughtry House series that is a great read for anyone who enjoys post Civil War books and strong female characters.
About A Rebel Heart
Five years after the final shot was fired in the War Between the States, Selah Daughtry can barely manage to keep herself, her two younger sisters, and their spinster cousin fed and clothed. With their family’s Mississippi plantation swamped by debt and the Big House falling down around them, the only option seems to be giving up their ancestral land.
Pinkerton agent and former Union cavalryman Levi Riggins is investigating a series of robberies and sabotage linked to the impoverished Daughtry plantation. Posing as a hotel management agent for the railroad, he tells Selah he’ll help her save her home, but only if it is converted into a hotel. With Selah otherwise engaged with renovations, Levi moves onto the property to “supervise” while he actually attends to his real assignment right under her nose.
Selah isn’t sure she entirely trusts the handsome Yankee, but she’d do almost anything to save her home. What she never expected to encounter was his assault on her heart.
About Beth White
Beth White’s day job is teaching music at an inner-city high school in historic Mobile, Alabama. A native Mississippian, she writes historical romance with a Southern drawl and is the author of A Rebel Heart and A Reluctant Belle, as well as the Gulf Coast Chronicles series. Her novels have won the American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award, the RT Book Club Reviewers’ Choice Award, and the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award. Learn more at www.bethwhite.net.