I discovered PJ Dean via Rivka Spicer’s Diverse Books Month posts in August. It was my first time reading Ms. Dean’s work, and I must say I absolutely loved it! Rarely, are there well-written interracial historicals with a Native American man and Black woman at the forefront. The premise is simple, but the weaving of the tale was well done. The historical references and research regarding Lelaheo’s tribe was fantastic! I learned a great deal. What I most enjoyed was the utilization of Gullah dialect by Kindred’s grandmother. It brought authenticity to the story line.
What’s the story about? Kindred, was raised by her grandmother in a free household in the North. Her grandmother escaped slavery and saved both Kindred and another young boy on the plantation after everyone was slaughtered. They were hidden away by a Good Samaritan and have been with him ever since. While living with this Good Samaritan, Kindred encounters Lelaheo. He has been sent away by his family to learn the ways of the white man and assimilate into the dominant culture. Don’t fret, his family had the best intentions. They simply wanted the best for Lelaheo, hoping the knowledge gained would serve his people at a later date.
Kindred and Lelaheo meet as young children and as they grow and forge a friendship, they fall in love. Of course, there’s always a twist in the plot. What’s the twist? Enter the young British woman, Adeline, who I wanted to throttle. This woman…ugh. UGH!
This was an enjoyable story. I have to say I was annoyed with Kindred when she held back from telling Lelaheo important information, but I understand why she chose to do so. LOL, everything can’t be perfect. I look forward to reading more of Ms. Dean’s work soon. I can say I highly recommend this tale if you’re looking for a sweet love story with a little bit of heat.
-Reviewed by Natalie