When Lavinia was seven she was orphaned while traveling to the U.S. from Ireland. She was taken in as a servant to work in the kitchen house with the slaves on a large plantation. Belle, the illegitimate daughter of the plantation owner, takes on the role of Lavinia's caregiver. What follows is a story about family, slavery, and the long term consequences of the choices people make.
I wasn't sure if I wanted to read this book at first because it sounded like it may be another version of a story that I've read many times before. However, Lavinia's storyline as an Irish indentured servant gave it a unique feel right away. The other characters, both the good and the evil, were richly developed. As much as I hated Marshall, the plantation owner's son, I was also rooting for the good in him to come out. You will see how he became what he was, and that he wasn't just a one-dimensional bad guy. The author's note in the back provides an interesting addition to the story as well. I really think this is an outstanding book, and I would rate it a 5/5.