A story of redemption and unconventional love.Leighlin Plantation offers Edward Ketch a new life, an opportunity to forsake his violent, troubled past and become a man worthy of respect and trust. But when a slave named Isabelle arrives, Ketch is drawn into a turbulent relationship that threatens the very peace he has struggled to attain.Isabelle has her own desires for a fresh start, but scurrilous gossip about her past undermines those hopes. She struggles to be accepted by Leighlin's other slaves and hopes marriage to a popular man will aid her cause. But her situation worsens when her husband becomes abusive. She discovers, however, one unlikely ally-Ketch, who is as much an outcast among Leighlin's white population as she is among her people.A stranger to love, Ketch cannot recognize the true feelings that draw him to Isabelle. To rescue her from the dangers of her marriage, he risks losing not only his position at Leighlin but the affections of the woman he strives to save.Set against the backdrop of 17th century Carolina, The Driver's Wife explores the lives and relationships, from Big House to slave settlement, of those who labored upon the wilderness plantations near Charles Town. Rice cultivation and the task system of slavery provide a much different landscape from the aristocratic Old South of cotton plantations and gang labor familiar to most modern-day readers. The Driver's Wife is a tale of the transcendent power of love.
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The Driver's Wife based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
“The Driver’s Wife” is a tale about power of love and its ability to transform and redeem people. The unlikely hero is Ketch, a man with a violent past—everyone knows about it and shuns him. The heroine is Isabelle, a slave so traumatized by the rape at the hands of her former master that she seeks the backbreaking work of the rice fields over the relative ease of working in the house. Although she just wants to fit in, the other slaves reject her for being biracial and for perceived favoritism from the rapist. Readers of S.K. Keogh’s Jack Mallory trilogy will remember Ketch as a character capable of great brutality and tenderness, and the author remains true to the character here. (Although I highly recommend the trilogy, you can enjoy “The Driver’s Wife” on its own.) Readers will find themselves rooting for Ketch and Isabelle as their relationship blossoms and each character grows and becomes wiser. Ms. Keogh provides a setting that transports the reader to the time and place, and she gives us a true world of the plantation, both its grit and its glamour. We meet three-dimensional people of all classes, from the plantation owners to the slaves, and we see good and bad in all of them. I did not want to put this book down. Highly recommended.
The author pulls off quite a feat. She gives us a main character who is about as far from lovable as it’s possible to get: Ketch has a violent past, a truculent, antagonistic attitude, and many secrets. He is damaged on more than one level. And yet… even from the beginning we see his intelligence at work, his sense of justice, his compassion (even though he doesn’t recognize that quality in himself). One step at a time, incrementally, we begin to root for Ketch, until before we know it we’re a hundred percent on his side – and he is becoming a different man. This book is a gem. Its descriptions of the colonial south are lush and vivid, which enhances the whole, but the extraordinary depth of characterization is what makes this story something special. The two main characters are fully realized. Separately and together, they hold the reader’s interest and we can’t help but care about them and their budding relationship, which is as singular as it is inevitable. Secondary characters, too, are three-dimensional, especially Helen, the precocious and warm-hearted child who Ketch protects and loves. I would love to see a follow-up book someday about Helen as a grown woman. A lot happens to Ketch and Isabelle externally, but even more happens – and deeper changes occur – internally, which gives the characters and the book as a whole a rare depth and richness. This reader will not soon forget these people and their story.