It is 1811, and the prosperous port city of Charleston is bustling with plantation owners, slaves, and immigrants. Immigrants such as the raven-haired Adalia Winston. But Adalia has a secret: her light skin belies that she is part black and a runaway slave from Barbados. Skilled in herbal remedies, Adalia finds employment with a local doctor and settles into a quiet life, thankful for her freedom but still fearful that her owner will find her.
Born into one of Charleston's prominent families, Morgan Rutledge is handsome, bored--and enamored of the beautiful Adalia, who spurns his advances. Morgan's persistence, however, finally wins, and Adalia is swept into the glamorous world of Charleston high society.
But Adalia's new life comes at a high price--that of denying her heritage and her zeal for God. How far is she willing to go to win the heart of the man she loves? And when her secret is revealed, will that love be enough, or will the truth ruin Morgan and send Adalia back into slavery?
I first picked up this book because it seemed to share similarities with my current work-in-progress. I'd never read one of MaryLu Tyndall's novels, but after this novel, I can say I'm an avid fan of her writing.
Tyndall's knowledge of the culture and time of Charleston in the early nineteenth century was evident throughout the pages, and yet I never felt bogged down by the rich details. Her skill in balancing the story and the setting drew me in right away.
I also appreciated the fact that this is no sweet, light love story. It felt real and complicated, just as our own relationships often do. I admired Adalia and her determination to live a life of freedom despite her fears. The reader truly understands the depth of Adalia's problem with her Negro culture, and the fact that she can't run from it. Although at the beginning of the story I felt her actions sometimes did not ring true to a person who had been enslaved for most of her teenage years, I was able to quickly overlook this because of the strong pull of the story.
Tyndall is a master at sending Adalia and Morgan into deeper and deeper trouble. There are no quick fixes for them. They battle through their fears and oppositions in a completely believable manner and I was totally cheering them along (and glued to the page) as they grew and wrestled with God, and themselves.
I will be searching out more of Tyndall's books in the future, and looking forward to her new releases. I highly recommend Veil of Pearls!
To view the book trailer for this book, visit www.marylutyndall.com