PUBLICATION DATE: JULY 1, 2012
dalia Winston is a new immigrant to Charleston and is hiding a huge secret behind her light skin. She’s part black and a runaway slave from Barbados. After escaping her abusive owner, she hopes to use her skills in herbal remedies to survive. When she finds employment with a local doctor, she settles into a quiet life of freedom and respect. Though she relishes the new life she’s creating, she’s still fearful that her owner will find her and drag her back to a life she’d rather die than go back to.
Morgan Rutledge was born into one of Charleston’s most prominent families and a life he hates. Born with a handsomeness he’s well aware of, he spends most of his time drinking, partying, and wooing ladies. That is, until he meets Adalia. He becomes enamored with her, but she keeps spurning his advances, making him want her more. With a determination to win her over, he tries everything in his power to win her over. When he finally does, Adalia is swept up into Charleston’s high society and her want to impress.
As their relationship grows, Adalia soon realizes that her new life comes at a high price. She finds herself denying her heritage and her zeal for God. She now must ask herself how far she’s willing to go to win the heart of the man she loves. When her secret is revealed she wonders how Morgan will react, if their love is enough or if the truth will ruin all love Morgan has for her and send her back into slavery.
I have been a huge fan of MaryLu Tyndall’s since her debut novel and have read almost all of the books she’s written. After her first four books, her books took a turn for the normal. Her books were still great, just not what I expected from her. This book, however, changed all that. This book is more like her first books and gives me hope that she will someday revisit her pirate books; the books that made me her fan.
One thing I love about this author is her romances. She has the ability to create a realistic romance with passion and class. This romance is no different. The passion in this book is more than you’ll see in the average Christian romance genre, but it’s done so tastefully and with such class that even the biggest stickler for an innocent romance could love this book.
Another reason why I love this author’s romances is because of the journey she takes you on. Because we all know what happens at the end of a romance novel, a great journey that leads you to the end is key for me. This book has that incredible journey that makes you actually a little sad at the last page because it means that you have to say goodbye to these characters. Since this book is a single title and not part of a series, it makes the ending that much sadder. I can only hope that maybe she makes a sequel to this book sometime in the future.
One thing I didn’t fully realize I missed was the faith in this book. So many Christian novels don’t really emphasize their faith in the book and I had gotten used to the lack of Bible verses and declarations of faith throughout the book. This book was full of examples of faith and the struggle it takes to be a follower of God. So many authors have a passion for Christ but don’t properly portray that passion in their novels; this author has shown me her passion for Him through Adalia’s passion for Christ. I look forward to seeing that passion in more of this author’s books.
MaryLu Tyndall has given me one of the best books she’s ever written. After several years of waiting, she has given me what I’ve been waiting for, a book that makes me remember why I love her as an author so much. If I have to wait several more years to get a book this good or better from her again, I will do it, but I feel like she has found her niche and will stay in it. I have loved seeing her improve and grow as an author and look forward to watching her grow and improve more.
dalia Winston knows that her fair skin will make it easy for her to blend into the crowd after escaping from the Barbados sugar plantation where she has been enslaved for the last eight years. But it’s not so easy to forget what she’s running away from, especially when she’s frequently called to attend to the slaves owned by the Rutledge family. Although Adalia is relieved to have found employment with a kind, fatherly doctor, she cannot overlook the way that he treats his own slaves, or the way that the most of Charleston treats those of her race. Adalia isn’t looking for love and acceptance – merely employment and safety from her former master – but her frequent visits to care for the slaves owned by the Rutledges bring her into contact with Morgan Rutledge, who has taken a liking for Adalia. Despite her convictions, Adalia slowly lets herself be taken in by the luxury and excitement of Morgan’s privileged life, even if his friends are more reticent towards her. But when it becomes evident to society that Morgan is keen to formally court Adalia, a spurned lover sets out to uncover something from Adalia’s past that she can use to sabotage their relationship. When news reaches Charleston that Adalia is a Negro, and an enslaved one at that, how will her beau, her employer and all of her new friends react? Will Adalia’s desire for luxury and frivolity cause her to lose her freedom? Or could all of this have been avoided if she’d never lied about her heritage in the first place?
MaryLu Tyndall is another of those authors that I missed out on because I didn’t truly discover Christian fiction until 2010. By the time I read The Red Siren in early 2011, she already had a massive back catalogue of books for me to catch up on, and she never stops pumping out more books that I want to read. I never really thought I’d be a pirate girl (besides drooling over Captain Jack from Pirates of the Caribbean, like every other teenage girl on the planet) but I do love the mixture of romance, action and spirituality that appears in MaryLu’s books. Initially, I thought that Veil of Pearls was going to be a bit of a disappointment in terms of the action and suspense, as the start of this book seemed rather slow. Adalia was settling into life in Charleston and paying visits to slaves with her herbal medicines, and although she ran into Morgan fairly early on in the book, it didn’t feel like much was happening to begin with. Thankfully, the story really got going around one-third of the way into the book and at that point I was gripped, but this is definitely a slower start compared to the other books that I’ve read from this author.
While it was the concept of a slave who could pose for a white woman that drew me to this book in the first place, I actually found myself more interested in Adalia’s descent into desiring after the privileged life of the wealthy, and I kept forgetting about the possibility of someone discovering Adalia’s race. Some reviewers have commented on how unlikely it is that Adalia would want to court a slave-owner and fall for his wealthy life so easily, but the way it was written in this book came across as very believable. Adalia flaws and susceptibility to temptation make her a very relatable character, and I’m sure that plenty of readers will find themselves sympathising with her dilemmas. Adalia did make a lot of mistakes over the course of the book, and the fact that her entire life in Charleston is built on a deception is a bit of a conundrum – is it right to lie in order to escape a sinful life? Should she tell the truth even if it means returning to her lecherous master? These are issues that make Veil of Pearls all the more intriguing to read.
Morgan was a much less sympathetic character, in my eyes at least. I’m just not a fan of the self-assured, confident Alpha Hero, although I know that he is fairly prevalent in MaryLu’s novels. Morgan’s pompous attitude and belief that every woman should want his attention just because of his family name was a major turn-off for me, as it was also for Adalia. While he gradually became more sympathetic over the course of the novel, I wasn’t really particularly fond of him until the end of the book when he finally realised that he could be happy without his family’s wealth and name. I’m sure that this won’t be an issue for all readers, but those of us who prefer our heroes to be Betas rather than Alphas may take a while to warm up to Morgan. Again, he is flawed character, much like Adalia, but his flaws made him more annoying than sympathetic to begin with.
That said, I did love the chemistry between Morgan and Adalia. Even if Morgan didn’t make me swoon, I did enjoy reading about the progression of his relationship with Adalia. After reading several novels where the characters didn’t even kiss until the last page of the book, I appreciated the physical chemistry between Adalia and Morgan. A physical connection does often appear long before an emotional and spiritual one, although plenty of Christian authors try to shy away from this fact, and I’m glad that this is something that MaryLu chose to feature in her novel. It showed how easy it is for a flawed human being to be tempted into a relationship with someone despite their best intentions – and also made for a slightly more sizzling romance!
Veil of Pearls wasn’t all romance and chemistry; it also included an excellent portrayal of the power of prayer and the Holy Spirit. Manifestations of the Holy Spirit are something I’ve rarely seen presented in Christian fiction, particularly in the historical genre, perhaps because some denominations have different views on how it manifests itself and how powerful it is in today’s day and age. This is an issue that is discussed in Veil of Pearls; when Adalia prays for healing for a sick girl and she makes a rapid recovery, some believe she’s used witchcraft, others find it to be a coincidence, and only a few truly believe that God healed the child. I loved how MaryLu was able to bring a discussion of prayer and healing into her novel without making it too preachy or forceful. There are also several times throughout the novel when Adalia is approached by an angelic presence giving her guidance during the times when she’d fallen away from talking to God due to the distractions of high society. While this isn’t something I’ve ever had a personal experience of, I did think it was approached very well considering the context.
Although I had my initial hesitations regarding the slow start to the story and the slightly unsympathetic character of Morgan, Veil of Pearls turned out to be an incredibly engaging novel. While MaryLu is most known for her action and suspense, I’d have to say that it was the flawed nature of the hero and heroine and their romantic chemistry that really made me enjoy this book. The combination of the characterisation, chemistry and action – not to mention the spiritual dimension of the novel – made it very hard for me to put this book down, even for a second. Fans of MaryLu Tyndall are sure to be pleased with this new addition to their collections, and as a standalone novel, Veil of Pearls would make a great introduction to her writing for new readers.