Thursday, January 9, 2014

"Carolina Gold" by Dorothy Love (Review & Giveaway)

About the book: The war is over, but her struggle is just beginning.

Charlotte Fraser returns to her late father's once-flourishing rice plantation on the Waccamaw River, determined to continue growing the special kind of rice known as Carolina Gold. But Fairhaven Plantation is in ruins, the bondsmen are free, and money is scarce.

To make ends meet, Charlotte reluctantly accepts a position as tutor to the young daughters of Nicholas Betancourt, heir to the neighboring Willowood Plantation. Then Nick's quest to prove his ownership of Willowood sends Charlotte on a dangerous journey that reveals an old family mystery---and threatens all that she holds dear.

Inspired by the life of a 19th century woman rice planter, Carolina Gold continues Dorothy Love's winning tradition of weaving together mystery, romance, and rich historical detail, bringing to life the story of one young woman's struggle to restore her ruined world.

My thoughts:  The ruination of the South was rampant following the Civil War  and the landed families suffered greatly. Prior to the war they were possessors of land that was their primary source of income through the venue of cotton and rice crops. They were mostly self-sustained in that they also produced their own food. Their ability to work the land was based on the use of slaves to labor in the fields. Slaves were fed, clothed, and housed on the property of the owner. Some were well cared for and others were mistreated gravely. The Civil War emancipated the slave. But the slaves' emancipation did not resolve all their problems, but it did thrust upon the freed slave and the former slave owners problems of equally as great a magnitude.

In Carolina Gold, a South Carolina plantation is now owned by the daughter, Charlotte, and she is determined to resume growing the plantation’s crop of rice – called “Carolina Gold.” She engages freed slaves  to work for her and agrees to their payment terms.  The hired laborers prove to be undependable and do not honor their agreement. Some of this problem is based on their attitude toward a former plantation owner being the one for whom they are working and one of the problems most likely stems from their not desiring to work for a woman. Charlotte is definitely moving in uncharted territory as she works to bring her plantation back to productive status.

Charlotte is resourceful and secures a bank loan to purchase seed and to pay salaries of former slaves engaged to now work the land as freedmen, and she also undertakes the tutoring of two young daughters of a neighbor. But as with many farming endeavors past and present, disaster in the form of weather strikes and most of the crop is lost. But Charlotte continues to persevere. 

This story provides the reader with a historically accurate glimpse into post-Civil War South Carolina. The characters present some of the still-intact grace the Southern landed class had prior to the war and how they endured the hardships placed upon them as a result of war. It also gave a glimpse into the freed slave and how they began to establish themselves in the labor market as free men and women.

Having grown up in a Southern coastal city and knowing that area once had a rice producing plantation, the story Carolina Gold (the rice and the production of it) was not entirely foreign to me and it shed interesting history on the demise of rice as a crop in the South. I found the story an interesting read and enjoyable. I especially found the two girls Charlotte tutored to be delightful. The sweet romance that eventually blossomed between Charlotte and Nicholas was pleasant.

About the author: A former journalist, free-lance writer and college professor, Dorothy Love explores the intersection of history and human relationships to create novels that speak to the hearts of women everywhere. She is the author of the acclaimed Hickory Ridge novels set in her native state of Tennessee.

After earning a masters degree and Ph.D, she authored dozens of magazine articles before breaking into book publishing with a number of award-winning novels for preteens and young adults. The Hickory Ridge series marked her adult fiction debut. Currently she is working on several stand-alone historical novels set in the South.

GIVEAWAYBegins January 9 & ENDS February 2 @ 12:01 a.m. ET. Open to Continental USA only. One copy of Carolina Gold will be sent to one of Chat With Vera's readers by Litfuse Publicity Group on behalf of the author.
a Rafflecopter giveaway 
To keep up with Dorothy Love, visit, become a fan on Facebook (Dorothy Love Books) or follow her on Twitter (@writerDorothy).

Read more reviews of Carolina Gold  

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of Carolina Gold in exchange for my honest review. Opinions expressed are solely my own and I received no compensation for this review.


  1. I have read all of Dorothy's books and find them worth reading. The Civil War is always hard for me to read about. I guess because it is difficult to understand Americans seeing each other as "the enemy".

  2. This book is on my TBR list for 2014 - I would love to win a copy - thanks


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