Keturah

Keturah

by Lisa T. Bergren
4.5 34

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Overview

Keturah by Lisa T. Bergren

In 1773 England, Lady Keturah Banning Tomlinson and her sisters find themselves the heiresses of their father's estates and know they have one option: Go to the West Indies to save what is left of their heritage.

Although it flies against all the conventions for women of the time, they're determined to make their own way in the world. But once they arrive in the Caribbean, proper gender roles are the least of their concerns. On the infamous island of Nevis, the sisters discover the legacy of the legendary sugar barons has vastly declined--and that's just the start of what their eyes are opened to in this unfamiliar world.

Keturah never intends to put herself at the mercy of a man again, but every man on the island seems to be trying to win her hand and, with it, the ownership of her plantation. She could desperately use an ally, but even an unexpected reunion with a childhood friend leaves her questioning his motives.

Set on keeping her family together and saving her father's plantation, can Keturah ever surrender her stubbornness and guarded heart to God and find the healing and love awaiting her?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780764230240
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/06/2018
Series: Sugar Baron's Daughters Series , #1
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 169,970
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)

About the Author

Lisa T. Bergren has published more than 40 books with more than 3 million books sold combined. She's the author of the Christy Award-winning Waterfall, RITA®-finalist Firestorm, bestselling God Gave Us You, and popular historical series like Homeward, Grand Tour, and more. She's also a recipient of the RT Lifetime Achievement Award. She lives in Colorado Springs with her husband and three teen-and-older children. Find her online at www.lisatbergren.com.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

10 June, 1773 Rivenshire, England

In the hopes that at least one would get through, their father had sent three copies of his last letter from the West Indies; as it happened, his daughters received them all. The first arrived nine weeks after it was posted. A servant delivered the second on a silver tray, a week after they heard their father had perished. By the time the final, rather ghoulish draft came, the girls were weeks into their grief, and it was buried in a stack of condolence letters.

"I'm only glad that Mother isn't here to endure this," Verity said, handing her older sister the letter in her father's careful script. Her eyes were bloodshot, making them an eerie gold-green. Ket knew she hadn't been sleeping; she heard the floorboards creaking as Ver tiptoed downstairs each night. Their youngest sister, Selah, never left her room after retiring, but judging from her wan complexion and the dark circles ringing her own eyes, Ket wagered she tossed and turned all night too.

"Here is another you ought to see," Verity said, handing her a second letter as she shifted through the stack of notes sent from well-meaning kin and acquaintances. Keturah met Ver's concerned gaze before accepting it and glancing down. From the scrawl, she knew it was from her father's attorney, Clement Abercrombie, the temporary manager of the entire Banning estate — both that of Hartwick Manor, here in Rivenshire, and Tabletop Plantation on Nevis.

Keturah sighed and closed her eyes. She didn't know if she could bear to read the same words from her father a third time, describing his failing health, imploring his daughters to always remember his fervent love for them. And yet had she not scoured the first and second, searching for variances, any scant detail that might help her connect to their father one last time? No, better to remain in the realm of the head rather than the heart. To read of business, to know of the outcome of this latest sugar harvest. Certainly it had to be better than the last. They desperately needed some glad tidings.

She slid a finger under the wax seal and popped open the heavy linen paper, unfolding it. She settled back into the worn but beautifully upholstered damask chair, what had once been her mother's favorite. But as she read, her heart sank lower and lower. No, no, no ...

"Ket, what is it?" Verity asked, setting aside the rest of the letters and leaning forward. "You look positively aghast."

Keturah realized one hand had gone to her throat and dropped it back to her lap. Her sisters teased her about her hand gestures, instantly reading her many moods. But this ... Her eyes scanned the letter again. Crop blight ... Terrible drought ... Machinery failure ... Another overseer lost to the ague ... Returns far less than the last ...

Far less than the last.

And the last had been fully half of the one prior.

She hadn't met with the attorney in London more than once since Father's death, but she knew enough to recognize that this was perilous news indeed. Mr. Abercrombie had hinted that it might be time to find a new West Indies overseer to manage Tabletop, that there were indications of mismanagement in the last years as her father's health deteriorated. Now that man was dead and there was no longer a choice to be made. He had to be replaced.

But finding a new overseer was a challenge in the West Indies — particularly for absentee owners. She'd overheard enough from male conversations at various social gatherings to tell her that those who saw to a plantation's "management" were notoriously given to mismanagement ... skimming funds, abuse of the slaves, and a rather unfortunate susceptibility to death from either drink or disease. And now Tabletop had lost their latest manager — such as he was — as well as Father. Who was looking after the slaves? Clearing the land to plant the next crop?

"Ket," Verity said, obviously for the second or third time, striding toward her. "What is it?"

Keturah brought her head up and thought about her sister's words. What was it? What was it not? This meant everything was about to change for her. Again. "It appears ... well, it appears I must pack my things and be on the first ship bound for the West Indies." She handed the letter to Verity and rose, her heavy skirts swishing about her as she strode toward the window. She needed to see the sun peeking through the clouds, some remnant of hope. Or was this just the latest reminder that God had utterly abandoned her?

"The West Indies," Selah repeated slowly, as if she had misheard Ket. "But you cannot. Father forbade us to go there!"

"Father isn't here any longer," Keturah muttered, her mind racing. "Such matters now must be decided by us alone." She shook her head as if to clear it and glanced over her shoulder at her sisters. Neither of them knew how dire this word truly was ... Ket didn't need another meeting with her father's attorney or accountant to tell her that this crop failure meant they were in danger of losing not just Tabletop, but their holdings here in Rivenshire too.

Taking a deep breath, she turned to fully face her sisters. "The harvest was ... far less than we hoped for, and our latest overseer has died of the ague. The difficulty is this: Father borrowed heavily against Tabletop and Hartwick Manor in order to make some improvements in the Indies. We were counting on a good return from the harvest in order to make a recovery and keep our creditors at bay. Given this news," she said, gesturing to the letter, "I would expect we have only two, perhaps three years to turn things around. Our creditors shall undoubtedly grow impatient after that and demand satisfaction."

Verity's mouth dropped open, and Selah covered hers.

"Surely it cannot be as dire as all that," Selah said.

Keturah only soberly met her gaze. Verity's mouth clamped shut.

Selah stepped forward and anxiously wrapped her hand through the crook of Ver's arm, her delicate brows knit in anxiety. But Ket's eyes returned to Verity.

"That leaves us with two options, Ver. Either one of us must immediately marry, and marry a very clever fellow, capable of managing our declining estates, or I must go and find a new manager for the plantation. Our future depends upon it."

Verity frowned. Selah blinked and stared at her. Not a one of them had a suitor they wished to encourage at the moment. Selah, after all, was only eighteen. Ver was notoriously picky. And Ket — well, Ket had decided to never risk her heart again. Not that the finest unions were built on love. No, in their circle, there were far more factors to consider. And those factors had led her to marry Lord Edward Tomlinson. Just the thought of it made her clench her hands.

Verity was the first to recover. "Perhaps there is another solution?" she said, glancing hopefully between the unread letter in her hands and her sister.

"I fear not," Keturah said, turning again to the window. She could not bear to stare upon the combined fear displayed in every line of her sisters' faces — it tripled her own. "These last days I've been poring over the ledgers. Last harvest's profits from Tabletop were but a portion of the previous one. We needed a strong crop to recover, and given sugar's long growth cycle, we now will not have a chance at it again for more than a year."

And that was if I were there this very day, hiring a new man. But I am here, months away from the Indies! She swallowed hard, forcing her terror back, determined not to allow her sisters to see anything but decision and clarity — attributes they'd admired in their father, attributes they would look to her now to provide. She forced what she hoped was a determined, confident expression to her face and slid her shoulders back before glancing at them. "Due to those declining profits, Mr. Abercrombie suspected we needed to replace our overseer; now we must do so in all haste."

"Can that not be done from here?" Verity asked. "Or can we not hire a man to go in your stead? Cousin Cecil, perhaps?"

Keturah shook her head. "From what I've been able to ascertain, the best managers must be wooed away from other plantations or practically escorted from the docks before another secures their services. It is most competitive."

"Keturah!" Verity said, picking up her fan and sweeping it in front of her blushing face. "What a ghastly thought! The thought of you fraternizing with men on the docks? The thought of you on the islands at all! There are reasons Father forbade us to accompany him, and illness was but one."

Ket knew she was right. She looked back out the window, unsure of how to respond. What am I to do? Is this madness? Or is it direction?

Selah stepped up beside her and was silent a moment before weaving her slender fingers between Keturah's. Together, they looked out at the sprawling, pristine formal garden of the manse.

The gardens Keturah had poured so much of her soul into since her return from the north. Gardens she'd freed of weeds and rot and had seen hints of new life in of late.

"Ket, you yourself know why Father didn't want us in the Indies," Selah said. "The stories ..."

"I have grown weary of the stories," Keturah returned, still staring outward. "I want to see it for myself. And truly, Selah, I do not believe we have a choice in the matter. Our entire future rides on the success of that plantation. I have a head for financial matters as well as horticulture. Perhaps I am a better choice than any man."

"But no man shall give you the time of day, Ket," Verity said, stepping to her other side. "At least in regard to such matters."

"I shall find a way to gain their attention," Keturah said with a heavy sigh, her eyes tracing the hedges of lavender waving in the afternoon breeze. She would miss that deep purple, as well as her rows of prizewinning roses.

"You cannot be serious," Selah said. "Mother never wished to go. Father would turn in his grave if ..." Choked by tears, she broke off.

Keturah wrapped her arm around Selah. Could she truly bear to leave her? And Verity too? What would the girls do without her? And yet what choice did she have? They couldn't lose Hartwick Manor, their childhood home and their last connection to their parents and grandparents before them. The thought of the Banning girls without Hartwick was ... unfathomable.

Her sisters needed it. To know that home was always right here.

A refuge. Sanctuary. A place of peace.

She needed it.

She bit her lip. Did God so loathe her that He wished to see every bit of her once-strong foundation destroyed? Well, she would show Him, as well as every man who stood in her way. A determined woman could find her way. Surely she could ...

Ket took a deep breath and turned from the window. "It is our time, sisters, to make our own way forward. Our parents are gone now, but our lives must go on. And if you do not wish to live in utter squalor, or accept the suit of the very next young man who wanders through our front gates, we must press forward at once. The only way I can see to do that is to sail west."

"But the illnesses, Ket," Verity tried again, wringing her hands. "Some say that four out of five newcomers fail to survive the year."

"I am quite hale," Keturah returned, reaching for her hand, seeking to reassure her. "I haven't had a day abed in years."

"But what of the wretched way they treat slaves?" Selah said. "I do not think I could bear to see such suffering. 'Tis one thing to give our servants here in England a proper opportunity to live and learn of the Lord. To learn how to comport themselves and learn the value of hard work. 'Tis another to force them to work the cane fields."

Keturah's mouth became dry at the thought. She knew seeing that firsthand might be the worst aspect. She'd heard enough horror stories from other ladies, whispered behind fans. Worse, there were constant threats of slave uprisings, plantation families kidnapped. Wives raped. Children murdered. And she doubted it was all titillating rumor.

"What I envision is three years there, perhaps four, but no more," Keturah said, resolution gradually steeling each word. "Just enough time to hire a proper overseer, make some investments to improve the plantation, see in a couple of harvests to pay our debts and recover a bit of our fortune, then prepare the plantation for sale at a handsome profit."

"Four years?" Selah said, her voice cracking. "I cannot be without you that long, Ket," she said, lifting a knuckle beneath her nose as her pretty brown eyes welled with tears.

Keturah pulled her closer. "Come now, Sissy. I shall write constantly, and you to me."

Selah only shook her head as if refusing the thought.

"You shall not go alone, Ket," Verity said. "If you must go, I shall accompany you."

Keturah's heart leapt at the thought. It would be so much easier if she were not alone. And yet Verity had suffered from some illness in this past year, and they couldn't both sail away and leave young Selah alone here. "No, Ver. I cannot risk you."

"Why not? If you choose to risk it, so may I."

With one look into Verity's determined gaze, Ket knew she wouldn't dissuade her.

"No!" Selah said in horror, tears dripping down her cheeks as she looked back and forth between her sisters. "You both cannot leave me!"

"Then you must come with us," Verity said, reaching out a hand in invitation.

Keturah wanted to protest, and knew she should, but the thought of having both of her sisters with her made her feel almost as strong and capable as when her father lived. For the first time since they learned of his death, she felt a surge of hope in her breast. Moreover, for the first time in years, she knew the thrill of anticipation beating in her heart.

She and Ver eyed Selah, waiting on her.

The adorable girl wiped her eyes, sniffed, and squared her shoulders, making her blond curls bounce around the nape of her slender neck. "We shall do as our mother taught us and pray upon it." She took a firmer grip on each of their hands, practically daring Ket to disagree.

With a sigh, Keturah closed their small circle, taking Ver's hand too. Far be it from her to dull the shine of her sister's coppery faith. It had sustained Selah — Ver too — through these last years, even as it had utterly failed Ket.

Heads bowed, Selah said, "Lord, it is with great trepidation that we come to you. And yet I cannot deny a desire to remain with my sisters, and you have planted this plan in Keturah's fine mind. We beg you to confirm it to our hearts. Is this of you? Shall we be brave and follow where you appear to be leading us? If not, urge us away from what many would call madness. If so, make us courageous, Father. Courageous."

They stood there in silence, their heads inches from one another. Ket stiffened as she heard them both sniff, knowing tears likely rolled down their cheeks as they continued to pray in silent passion, as their mother had before them. But Ket? She remained silent, teeth clenched, as she waited for God to do what He would with her sisters. Would it not be like Him to keep them from her? To make her sojourn alone, perhaps never to see either of them again?

This, this thought made her eyes well up at last and her throat swell. She sniffed, and Selah squeezed her hand, obviously assuming she was praying too. "Thank you, Lord. Thank you," Selah whispered, as if she'd received word from the Almighty himself.

And Verity whispered, "We give you what is already your own, Lord. Our very lives. Go before us, beside us, and behind us. Amen." Both looked up at Keturah then, and she scanned their beloved faces, her heart in her throat. Ver was decided, more firm now.

But Selah? She couldn't tell. Her big brown eyes certainly held a measure of conflict in their depths.

"Our journey shall be undoubtedly rife with challenges," her little sister said, suddenly seeming more womanly in her countenance and demeanor as she decided. "But where my dearest ones go, so shall I."

Keturah huffed a laugh and then enfolded both girls in her arms. This felt good to her, so good. Hopeful. How long had it been since she felt such hope, since she felt so ... alive? Since before Edward, she was certain. Before her life with him had slowly deadened her heart, piece by piece.

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Keturah"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Lisa T. Bergren.
Excerpted by permission of Baker Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Keturah 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
Fitzysmom 10 days ago
I'm a devourer of books. When one arrives in my mailbox I just want to dive in. When this book arrived I wound up placing it on the table and leaving it for about a week. I think it was the title that put me off. It just didn't appeal to me. Once I started reading my opinion changed completely. This is a very captivating story. Keturah is the oldest sister's name but she goes by Ket. She is who the story revolves around. If you like to read about women of strength you're going to enjoy this one. The time frame is the late 1700s and Ket goes completely against convention and advise and sets out with her two sisters for the Carribean island of Nevis. Ket's bravery and determination in the face of danger and hardship is inspiring. The voyage to the island was precarious enough but it winds up being tame compared with what she faces once she arrives at her late father's estate. To say that she and her sisters are unprepared is an understatement. There are some adult themes in this story particularly that of slavery. It's actually one of the things that I appreciated the most about the book. Ms. Bergren doesn't shy away from the atrocities that happened during that time in history. It's an ugly thing but it happened. It would be easy to leave it out or sugarcoat it but that isn't what the author chose. I applaud her for that. I enjoyed this book and look forward to the rest of the series. It looks like there will be at least two more that focus on the other sisters. If the following books are anything like this one they are going to be worthy reads. I can't wait. I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
Anonymous 14 days ago
This book had my attention from start to finish. It amazes me that even in this day and time we are still so foolish to think just because we're rich or poor, black, white, brown, yellow etc, we are better than any one else. Hey as Mandisa, (contemporary christain music artist) says "we all bleed the same". When I am reminded of any one being mistreated in any kind of slavery I have to stop and ask God of Heaven to forgive me for forgetting to pray for the end of slavery all over the world. We serve the one and only mighty God, He is able. When is book two going to be ready?
EmilyAnneK17 3 months ago
When Keturah and her two sisters find their finances depleting because of their father's and estate manager's deaths, they make the crazy decision to travel halfway around the world to save their father's sugar plantation in the Caribbean islands. Coincidentally, Keturah's childhood friend travels on the same boat to save his own plantation. Can Keturah rise above the innumerable challenges she will face as a woman alone in a very dangerous, sexist community as well as heal from the wounds her abusive, late husband left? I love, love the cover on this book. It makes me want to be her, there in that epic dress in the Caribbean. And the colors are spectacular! As for the book itself, well, it was good, but not the best Lisa Tawn Bergren book I've read. Keturah is framed as a strong female lead, stepping out against the societal constraints of her time to do what no other woman has dared to - run a plantation in a foreign country. Exactly what today's society tends to love in a fiction book, although I'm not sure how historically accurate Keturah's attitude and actions were. I'm also not sure about the reactions of the males around her. The majority of the men in this book seemed sexist, rude, controlling, violent human beings. They wanted to marry her for her money and beauty, they abused their slaves and women like Keturah, and they set out to sabotage Keturah's plans to run her plantation. There were a few exceptions, like Keturah's love interest, but even her loving father fell prey to some of the follies by having a slave woman as his mistress and having a child with her. I just don't like that portrayal as so many men being kind of evil and the women so much better. Now, the little I know about history leads me to believe that on those sugar islands, where there was little in the way of Law, this portrayal of the men might very well have been true. But this presentation of the men was set opposing to the strong female lead, and it makes the book seem like it fell to the worst parts of today's feminism, where women are portrayed as good and men as evil. Another major issue addressed in this book was slavery. Slavery and racism is such a big issue in today's world that many authors of historical books specifically write their characters to have no slaves or to treat them very well, like family. This book did that and didn't. I thought it was kind of daring for the author to make the characters not only own but continually buy slaves fresh off the boats in the auction. They treated their slaves better than every other owner did and condemned the harsh treatment of slaves, but the fact remains that they did, in fact, have slaves. Keturah and her sisters worked alongside the slaves in the fields and even hired a former slave as an overseer. I appreciate that. But the use of the "n-word" and the ownership of slaves will likely make some readers uncomfortable. As for Keturah herself, I appreciated her strong spirit and determination. She loved her sisters deeply and she took care of what was hers. Some of her failings were that she was proud and rarely accepted help and she distrusted nearly all the men around her. Her distrust and bias against men was not the sign of a strong woman, no, but I understand why she did it. Keturah was abused by her husband, and she had not yet recovered from that pain when the book began. Having known women in similar situations, I understand that it can be incredibly hard to trust any of the opposite
Tara Runyan 4 months ago
A beautiful romance about life after abuse from a spouse. Keturah is recovering after living with her abusive husband; however, now her father has died and left her with debts and a failing plantation. She decides against all social norms to move to the planation with her two sisters to rescue the family business and provide a future for her family. What makes things interesting is her childhood friend also is moving to the same island and their two paths keep crossing. It was an enjoyable book with moving scenes that leave a lasting impact on readers. The book was also rich with detail that made the time period romance come to life. I found myself brought to different emotions such as fear, love, and joy as the story unfolded, and I could not put the book down. However, I had a hard time completely understanding the main character since I was blessed to not have an abusive background. Flashbacks or memories may have helped me understand more of what it was like. I understand though that the author was being delicate with the subject matter and wanted to touch readers who have gone through similar situations to Keturah. Therefore, I actually was more interested in what happens with the other two sisters. The relationship between the three sisters was touching and a perfect centerpiece to hopefully a book series; I hope she continues their stories in future books.
rkfall 4 months ago
I thought that Keturah by Lisa T. Bergren was a great historical read! I enjoyed that it started in England and journeys across the sea to the islands in the Caribbean. It opens the eyes to slaves and society back in the day and some of that is hard to read but I appreciate that she keeps it realistic and true to history. The way women were treated back in the day is crazy in so many ways, but the women in this book are adventurous and willing to put themselves out there, not that they really had much choice. Check it out for yourself and enjoy this great read! I received a copy of this in exchange for my honest review.
Anonymous 9 months ago
Keturah is a historical fiction novel set in the 1770s. The Banning sisters find themselves in dire straits as they learn of the status of their father’s sugar plantation on Nevis, an island in the West Indies. Society at the time dictated that it was the man’s responsibility to provide for the family, but what happens when there are no men left to support them? Keturah has suffered abuse at the hands of her husband, both verbal and physical. The wounds left are deep. Ket has vowed to never trust a man again or to be put in a position where she must rely on one for assistance. And it’s from this newfound determination that she decides to set sail for Nevis in the hopes of saving the family plantation, thus ensuring financial stability for the future. What Ket and her sisters don’t realize is how very different life on Nevis is compared to England. I know my friend will love this book. Brew some tea and enjoy this cup of strong female characters, great scenery, a dash romance and some justice on the side. Ket’s determination and persistence are what female readers are looking for in a novel. Sure, she falls in love, but she isn’t magically rescued from her struggles. In fact, she becomes partners with her lifelong friend. Despite his longing to save her or take care of her, Ket manages well on her own. This novel is filled will drama and suspense, with abuse, loss, and grief, with hope and success. It’s a book on survival, not only on the plantation but from past hurts. It’s a story of forgiveness and healing. I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest opinion and I can’t wait to share this book with my friend. She’s going to love it.
lsnlj 9 months ago
This is book one in the Sugar Baron's Daughters series. I look forward to reading more from this family. The author does a great job at developing her characters and keeping you interested in what is going on. I can see where this is a series, each book probably being somewhat of a stand alone, however you will miss out on lots of history if you do not start at the beginning. This book is full of history, family, learning, going against the grain, forgiveness and of course some romance. I loved how through every location the Banning sisters find themselves in there is excitement, determination and so much more. This book focus' primarily on the eldest Banning sister, Lady Keturah Banning Tomlinson, She is a wounded, determined lady. She must make a go of a failing Sugar can plantation to survive and be of any help to her sisters. She does not feel she needs to be under the authority of any man, regardless of what the customs dictate.
Shopgirl152ny1 9 months ago
This was a wonderful story set in such a fascinating time and place! I loved learning more about the culture of the West Indies, how hard it was trying to not only survive but thrive on the sugar plantations with the unpredictable weather and fevers. It was especially fascinating to see Keturah try to figure out this life as a woman and on her own. She takes on the responsibility of turning the plantation around without really knowing anything about it and I admired her courage and gumption while also shaking my head at her naivete sometimes. I really admired how Keturah tried to have a positive attitude and count her blessings even when things were falling apart. She also could be very stubborn and wouldn't take the help offered but I could understand why she wouldn't. Keturah survived an abusive marriage and I thought the author did a good job of showing her struggle emotionally with memories without being graphic about what she went through. There were other hard things in the book, such as a man threatening the sisters and almost raping one, slaves being sold at a slave auction and a black man getting beaten pretty badly. Nothing is described in very much detail but it gives you a sense of the hard life people led, partly because of where they were but also when they were. They didn't have the type of justice system we do in America now and it's a scary thing not to know where to turn for help. I really liked Gray, her childhood friend, and her two sisters were great, as well. They were loyal, supportive and caring and I can't wait to read about their stories in the books to come! The scenes were described wonderfully so that I felt like I was there. A couple romances were sweet and I enjoyed watching Keturah's faith grow as she turned to God for strength and guidance after having been angry at Him for years. I always enjoy Lisa's writing and this was no exception. I highly recommend this book if you like historical fiction! I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.
Shopgirl152ny1 9 months ago
This was a wonderful story set in such a fascinating time and place! I loved learning more about the culture of the West Indies, how hard it was trying to not only survive but thrive on the sugar plantations with the unpredictable weather and fevers. It was especially fascinating to see Keturah try to figure out this life as a woman and on her own. She takes on the responsibility of turning the plantation around without really knowing anything about it and I admired her courage and gumption while also shaking my head at her naivete sometimes. I really admired how Keturah tried to have a positive attitude and count her blessings even when things were falling apart. She also could be very stubborn and wouldn't take the help offered but I could understand why she wouldn't. Keturah survived an abusive marriage and I thought the author did a good job of showing her struggle emotionally with memories without being graphic about what she went through. There were other hard things in the book, such as a man threatening the sisters and almost raping one, slaves being sold at a slave auction and a black man getting beaten pretty badly. Nothing is described in very much detail but it gives you a sense of the hard life people led, partly because of where they were but also when they were. They didn't have the type of justice system we do in America now and it's a scary thing not to know where to turn for help. I really liked Gray, her childhood friend, and her two sisters were great, as well. They were loyal, supportive and caring and I can't wait to read about their stories in the books to come! The scenes were described wonderfully so that I felt like I was there. A couple romances were sweet and I enjoyed watching Keturah's faith grow as she turned to God for strength and guidance after having been angry at Him for years. I always enjoy Lisa's writing and this was no exception. I highly recommend this book if you like historical fiction! I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.
Libby May 9 months ago
Keturah was a book that I personally enjoyed. Yes there were plenty of scenes that made me go "bleh" out loud (16 to be exact) Yes, most of the attraction between Keturah and Gray was physical and the mentions of his bare chest was yucky. However! The plot was good, the story was good. Keturah's determination, and Gray's "change" were agreeable and believable. And Keturah's wariness of males because of her past was very understandable. It did not feel (at least to me) as snobbish, but her protecting herself. (And she had a good reason to) The whole thing beside the romance part of it stood on its own two feet. Then why the two stars off? #1 As I was enjoying the story I would come across points of "romance" that would make me wrinkle my nose and reach for my pencil, which was annoying because it pulled me from the story. It wasn't crucial to the plot and could have been better executed. #2 The era. It really did not at all feel like the 1700s. It did feel like historical fiction, but not that far back! It was odd when the men would put on wigs, even though that was supposed to be the normal thing. Also, like Hannah mentioned, there were a lot of historical flaws that really would not have happened back in 1700s, and in turn, failed to make that the era. No way Keturah would have worn breeches. No way. Not in that time frame. CONTENT: There was mention of molesting (did not happen), rape (also did not happen) manhandling, Keturah was physically abused by her husband, although this was only talked about in her memories because during the book her husband was already dead (semi-detailed). Lots of drinking (which the author talked about in her post-note, her attempt to fit the time frame) talk of muscles, curves, lips, (not detailed) mention of stealing kisses, wanting a kiss and kissing (semi to not detailed). I recommend age 16 and up. Basically so you are mature enough to strain out the dirt and enjoy the story. Three stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️ I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishing Company for my honest review. Visit my blog geoturtle.com to read more book reviews.
sesquius 10 months ago
When I first selected this book, the cover design intrigued me, and the back cover copy made me curious as to how the author would weave a tale from this period of sugar plantations. The Banning sisters are going to the West Indies, after inheriting the sugar plantation from her father. Their lives in England is based on the success of this sugar plantation, so older sister Lady Keturah Banning Tomlinson realizes she must visit and find an overseer to bring profit to the land. Her sisters choose to go with her. After a bad marriage, Keturah is hesitant to accept help from a dear friend from childhood. She is strong, but must protect her heart and swears to never marry again. But Gray, her childhood friend, promises to be there whenever she needs him. Even though I had the book for a few weeks, it took me awhile to start on the story. I started the first chapter and then put it aside. But then, I finally found a moment while at work. Yes work. Things were slow, so on my break I started reading. And then I couldn’t stop. The way Lisa wove the story, the descriptions of their travel across the ocean on the ship was enlightening. It was as though I was invited to tag along as a non-participant and follow along with their dialogue and thoughts. There was depth to the story and I soon discovered that this was not going to be an easy read, that is, no skimming across the pages to get the gist of the story. This book required a full commitment to reading, lest I pass by an important morsel. The scene on the docks were heart wrenching, thus I appreciated the outcome. I did cringe a bit with Keturah when he hard-nosed British aristocracy reared it’s ugly head when approaching the one who was residing at the plantation. At this point I was not liking Keturah very much, and had it not been for my curiosity in how the book was to end, I may have been more flippant in my reading. Plus, it was my hope she'd set aside her snobbery. However, considering this is a story, it is quite possibly a very honest reaction. There are some reviews where some said that the book was perhaps pushing the boundaries in areas, but to be honest, I think it was all needed. It made you understand, appreciate and experience the feelings that the sisters were feeling. It pulled you into the story. Without, I don’t think it would have been nearly as impactful. That said, I loved the book and enjoyed the end, although I feel there are just enough loose ends hanging around, which my guess will be resolved in the rest of the series. I received this book from the publisher, Bethany House. All opinions are my own.
Nicnac63 10 months ago
First of all, as a cover art lover, I have to comment on this lovely book cover. Stunning. Unique. And it makes me yearn to overlook the Caribbean from that Nevis beach. Keturah, by Lisa T. Bergren, is an engaging story, taking me places I’ve never been—the island of Nevis, as well as evoking emotions rarely tapped into. I haven’t read many books with Colonial settings and this story leaves me wondering why. I definitely plan to read the rest in this series. I love the premise of this book. After their father’s death, three sisters leave their home in England to save their father’s sugar plantation on Nevis Island. The author showcases their struggles and the injustices of this time period in a raw and exposing way. (The slavery parts were difficult.) She also deals with loss of faith—or as I like to call it, misplaced faith, never fully erased—and redemption. I love the characters’ family bond, and how they had each other’s backs. I grew attached to all three sisters, and truly admired Keturah’s strength. I’m looking forward to the other books in the series (The Sugar Baron’s Daughters) focusing on the other two sisters. Overall, this is a powerful and moving read. Race, slavery, abuse, loss of faith—are some of the themes addressed in this story. The beginning was a little slow for me, but the pacing picked up and fully immersed me. I was blessed to receive a complimentary copy from Bethany House.
Teadrinker 11 months ago
Keturah is the first book in Lisa T. Bergren's new series called The Sugar Baron's Daughters. This historical fiction book begins in England in 1772 with Lady Keturah Banning Tomlinson and her two sisters, Verity and Selah, as they find themselves in a difficult position after their father has passed away. Should they go to the West Indies to save their heritage or stay in England? At that time, women didn't usually travel like they decided to do--alone on board a ship across the Atlantic with just a few servants. Once they arrive in the Caribbean, the sisters face new challenges and new joys. It is truly a fun adventure to read. I found Keturah to be an engaging read. I enjoyed reading about the sisters' adventure and travels in that time period. I would mention that this book does deal with a serious issue, as Keturah must heal from an abusive first marriage and go on with her life after her abusive husband has passed away. Having been in an abusive relationship at one time in my life, I thought Bergren handled this subject well within the story. For this reason, though, the romantic storyline does move a little slower than others she has written. However, I could understand Keturah's fears and needing time to heal so I thought it flowed well for that reason. I mention this because it is an important part of the story and may bring up memories for any reader who has been in this difficult place before. As a whole, the women in this book are strong women who overcome their difficulties. It is great to see them leading new lives and facing new challenges together through the story. I especially enjoyed the rich details in the setting of this book as I could envision myself wherever the characters were. Keturah is a good read and I am looking forward to the rest of the series. I received Keturah from Baker Publishing Group. I was not required to write a positive review.
Baranski1987 11 months ago
Keturah is book one in the Sugar Baron’s Daughter series by Lisa T. Bergren. Travel back in time to 1772 with this good read by Lisa T. Bergren. Watch as these sisters set our to make it on their own. A story of struggles, determination and much more. I received a complementary copy of this book. This review is my honest opinion. 3.5 stars!
Anonymous 11 months ago
I enjoyed reading Keturah, the first book in the new series The Sugar Baron’s Daughters. Set in the Caribbean among the plantations of the sugar barons, Bergren introduces us to Keturah, Verity and Selah who are determined to make their late father’s sugar plantation profitable again. Alone and unfamiliar with the world of slavery and the West Indies, the sisters do not find a ready welcome. Forced to rethink their privileged upbringing, they find themselves doing and thinking differently. Full of intrigue and intense emotion, Keturah is fast moving with strong characters. I loved the character of Keturah. She was so emotionally vulnerable and yet so fiercely loyal and attentive to her sisters and slaves under her care. Using an intricate plot full of danger, loss and pain, Bergren deftly introduces us to the culture of the West Indies during the sugar plantation era and shows us how slavery was a tragic practice for everyone involved. Bethany House gave me a complimentary copy of Keturah by Lisa T. Bergren for my candid review.
CafinatedReads2009 11 months ago
I will be honest here and tell you that it took me a while to get into. I think, though, it had more to do with the fact I was super sick during the time I tried to read it. But, in the end, I followed through and stuck with it to the last page. I was pleased with what Lisa Bergren brought to the table with this start to a new, captivating, richly detailed series. This book, despite the difficult start I had, is a 4 star book. Ms. Bergren's characters are life-like and rich. Her detail to history is amazing and her messages......oh those messages that come straight from the Lord above. I definitely give this book a hats off and recommend it to all readers. I will be looking forward to the next book in this series and seeing where the Sugar Baron's next daughter ends up in her life. *Cafinated Reads received a complimentary copy of this book from LitFuse Blog Tours/publisher and was under no obligation to post a review, positive or negative.*
WishEnd 11 months ago
KETURAH is a breathtaking story of sacrifice, forgiveness, trust, and love as three sisters strive to succeed on their sugar plantation in the wild and unpredictable West Indies. These sisters face adventure from the beginning and continue to be challenged every step of the way, finding they must rely on each other, on friends, and on God if they are to survive. Fans of the genre and of this author are sure to love stepping into Keturah's story with much anticipation for the next book in this series! Highly recommended! I have been meaning to read a book by this author for ages! I actually own several of her books, but haven't gotten to them. I was super excited when I saw this new series from her and grabbed the chance to review. I was quite satisfied that my high expectations were met! I felt the emotions from these characters, particularly Keturah, who is the main character. I could picture their lives, from their English home, to the ship they traveled on, to the island that would become their home. Through it all, the author weaved a story of forgiveness, trust, and romance. Not only did Keturah have to learn to trust others, she also had to learn to trust God and herself. I loved, loved these characters! They really came alive to me. There were so many sweet moments, as well as harrowing ones, moments of sadness, desperation, danger, and then humor and swoon-worthy romance. I also loved that I got to know the other two sisters as I read Keturah's story, and that there is still a bit of suspense lingering at the end of this one... just enough to build my anticipation for the danger and romance ahead for these strong women. In the end, was it what I wished for? I loved this one from beginning to end! With the flush setting, memorable characters, and engaging plot, what is not to love? I really can't recommend this one enough! I'm happily anticipating the next book in this series. Content: Some innuendo, violence, attempted rape, and references to abuse and an affair, but in the context of the story. Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through Litfuse Publicity, which did not require a positive review nor affect my review in any way.
Faerytalemegan 11 months ago
Lisa Bergren has long been one of my favorite authors, starting with her famous “River of Time” series. I was so excited for the chance to read and review her newest book, “Keturah,” the first book in the “Sugar Baron’s Daughters” series. I can say that I truly loved “Keturah!” “Keturah” is a beautifully written story. I love Ms. Bergren’s engaging writing style that kept me turning pages and made me so invested in her characters. Even though this isn’t as fast-paced as her young adult novels, it’s still written in such a way that I was able to be fully engaged and read it quickly. This story also deals with some heavier issues, like slavery and abuse. The main character has experienced physical and emotional abuse in the past, but nothing is described in detail. These topics didn’t bog the story down or make it depressing. I love the way Ms. Bergren writes her characters. This book tells the story of three sisters embarking on a life changing journey. Obviously this is mainly Keturah’s story and it sounds like the other sisters will each get their own stories in subsequent books. Keturah has to learn to make her own way and take things one step at a time. She is a strong female character. The sisters have such a great bond and I fell in love with each sister. Our hero, Gray, is very swoon-worthy! The way he cares for Keturah and looks after her is so sweet; even though his love is unrequited for a large part of the novel. He reminds me of my husband, which is high praise! I also love the strong faith many of the characters have. God is a large part in many of the main characters’ lives. There is such a great faith thread interwoven throughout this story. I definitely recommend this book! Content: Ms. Bergren is one of the more “edgy” Christian fiction writers. I would probably rate this book PG-13. As I mentioned above, this book does deal with physical and emotional abuse, which could potentially be a trigger. Some other examples of content are: mention of rape and violence; reference to women of ill repute; talk of a man’s conquests; the word Negro is used in a historical context; a man eyes a woman’s bodice; allusions to abuse in a past marriage; mentions of a man getting drunk; people drink wine as part of a meal; sailors sing bawdy songs, references to tavern wenches and giving favors; a man swears, but the word is not actually written; slaves are nude when being auctioned and there is violence; talk of a woman being a man’s mistress. Rating: I give this book 5 stars! Genre: Christian fiction; Romance; Historical I want to thank Litfuse Publicity, Lisa Bergren and Bethany House Publishers for the complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.
ARS8 11 months ago
Keturah, what an adventure it was to embark with you from England and to travel with you to the island of Nevis. Taking place during 1772, Keturah and her two sisters decide their only option left to them after the death of their father, is to sail to their plantation of Tabletop on the island of Nevis. Their fortunes are dwindling and their only hope is to see about getting the plantation up and running and prosperous again. Keturah, who is a widow, has vowed to never marry again after enduring a cruel marriage with her now late husband. She was a stubborn woman, and that stubbornness was born out of necessity. Enter childhood friend Gray Covington, second son, who is also sailing to the same island to revive his family’s plantation and to make his own fortune. Gray was such an endearing character, a changed man from his younger carefree years. He has learned much and has turned from his old ways after a certain pivotal point in his life: the marriage of his closest friend Keturah. His love for her was beautiful to read about, his patience and his understanding of her new found independence, and in his wooing of her. There are some really poignant scenes in this novel but the one that really got to me is when Gray finally comes to himself and sees what a fool he has been. Keturah as stated above is a very stubborn woman. I really at times became frustrated with her at her reluctance and cold shoulder towards Gray when all he wanted to do was to protect her. However author Bergren does give us hints of her earlier marriage with her late cruel husband that would certainly shape and distort Keturah’s views of all men. Not to mention the secrets her father kept hidden from them that he thought would never see the light of day or the treatment these women received at the hands and prejudices of the other men on the island which all in turn shaped her view of men. This was a really good read. I was awed with author Bergren’s weaving of her story. I look forward to the rest of the series. I received a complimentary copy of this novel. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.
MaureenST 11 months ago
What a captivating read, a story that brings us across oceans and continents, and a blend of cultures. You can see how society would be aghast when Keturah, Lady Tomlinson, and her sister’s Selah and Verity, go unescorted across the Atlantic from England to the West Indies, and are intent to running a sugar plantation alone. Throughout the ordeals that they encounter, you see a great strength in God, and a constant watchful eye of Ket’s childhood friend Grey, another man on his way to plow his own path and make his own riches in the sugar industry. This book does touch on some very hard subjects, and to name a few, slavery and abuse, we see it up close and personal. I will warn you that once you turn the first few pages you will soon be lost and the hours are going to fly by as you page turn. I received the book through the Publisher Bethany House, and was not required to give a positive review.
steelergirl83 11 months ago
First things first, Lisa Bergren can write literally anything and I want to read it. I've enjoyed her YA books, her Grand Tour romances, her westerns, and now her Caribbean set series has captivated me. I actually wouldn't say this is a romance. In fact, the romance is minimal and really doesn't become part of the story until near the end. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I actually could have done without the romantic aspects. What?!?! Yes. I just typed that. I think Keturah's learning to leave her past behind and conquer a new life with her sisters at Nevis was the anchor of this book. It was those that kept me flipping the pages. Keturah is quite a bit different from Lisa's previous historicals in that it confronts some pretty heavy topics. Physical abuse and slavery are at the forefront of this story. It is tough to read. At certain points the story kind of veers off, but since it's the first book of a series, I'm hoping some of the things are addressed in the forthcoming installments. Personally, I want to know more about Mitilda. To be honest, she needs her own book. She has a history that I need to hear! I'm intrigued by Keturah's sisters, too. I really hope that a certain captain who's smitten with Verity makes an appearance in the series again. *sigh* Keturah is a unique and tempestuous tale of three sisters trying to preserve their father's estate. While at times it jumps between being a romance and historical fiction, it is a page turner. I read through over 300 pages in one sitting and I'm very much looking forward to what the Ladies Banning do with their new lives in the Caribbean. ~ My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars ~ *I receive complimentary books from publishers, publicists, and/or authors. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.*
NanaNor 11 months ago
I love Lisa's writing and have enjoyed some of her other books in the past. I always love reading about different times and places and this book gave me so much history. The characters were rich and developed and the plot kept me wanting to know what happened next. The plot also describes a time in our history that was appalling, when families had slaves and the treatment of the slaves. I applaud the author for tackling the issue of woman's rights; the main character struggles to run a plantation alone. The scenes describe how awful the other plantation owners treated her and the threats made to her well being unless she married and had a man running her family's plantation. I will definitely look for the next book in the series. I would rate it Gold, for being everything you want in a book. Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing. No review, positive or otherwise was required; all opinions are my own.
joyful334209 11 months ago
Keturah is a another wonderfully fantastical book by Ms. Bergren. This author knows how to grab you by the collar and take you on a ride with the Characters. The Characters are made to be so rea, honest, heart warming, lovable and GOD fearing. It is a story of strength from the main Character and siblings. The sisters are thrown into an amazing eye opening, heart wrenching but strengthening world of the sugar barongs. Keturah reunites with an old friend - wink wink - is he there for a good or bad intentions? Keturah learns to rely, trust and follow GOD's will for her life. How does she and her siblings end up? Will they succeed or will they fall? I received a copy of this book from the Publisher and Netgalley; all the opinions expressed in this review are all my own.
Britney_Adams 12 months ago
I enjoyed the uniqueness of this story and its setting, as well as the historical tidbits I gleaned as I read. Keturah and her sisters are compelling characters who set sail from England to take control of their late father’s sugar plantation. Upon arriving on the island of Nevis, the harsh realities of life assault them, and there is much to learn and overcome. I admired the dogged determination Keturah and her sisters showed in their endeavors and look forward to continuing the journeys of The Sugar Baron’s Daughters. I received a complimentary copy of this book. No review was required, and all thoughts expressed are my own.
ChatWithVera 12 months ago
I have not previously read a story set in the locale and time period that the story of Keturah occurs. Trusting the author's skillful research into the conditions of people on the island, the culture of the time, the need for a woman to overcome insurmountable odds and succeed, I found the events and characters interesting and challenging to read about as they went about living the untenable life that awaited these ladies born to class and title. This promises to be an very interesting series. Keturah has two sisters and I don't know if they are the other "sugar baron's daughters" to be featured in the series or if others are on the horizon. The dark history of the Caribbean island and importation of slaves and the brutal treatment of them is hard to read, but it is in the story. The total disrespect for the individuality and worth of a woman by the island plantation owners and men on the island in general is hard to comprehend. The interaction of Keturah and her sisters is lovely and really good to see. The way they deal with the slaves on their own plantation is refreshing in light of the overall darkness that is written into the story. Certainly worth the read! I received a complimentary copy to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and are freely given.