Rachel Travis has always known she’s different from other girls. She dresses like a man and is a dockworker at Galveston dockyard. In the evenings, she moonlights as a bartender. Rather than enter a convent or marry, she ran away from her home at fifteen. Rachel knows she is unlikely to have female company other than the prostitute, Lillie who had become her friend and she regularly visits.
Mattie Crockett was married at fourteen to her violent, physically and mentally abusive husband, Adam. Other than working at a tailor shop, she is not allowed out anywhere alone. The only time Mattie gets any respite from the constant verbal abuse and beatings, is when Adam has business to attend to in Houston. Which, fortunately for her, is quite often. There was nothing Mattie enjoyed more than walking along the beach in Adam’s absence. It was during one of these beach visits that Mattie and Rachel first met. They struck up an unlikely friendship. Both women were lonely and starved for company.
It’s not long before Rachel realizes she feels more for Mattie than just friendship. She can never allow herself to dare to hope that Mattie will feel the same. After all, she’s married to Adam, albeit unhappily, so she can’t like women that way, can she?
I first read this story online many years ago. Twice, in fact. I loved the story, but the book, by then, had gone out of print. I am so pleased to see it has now been re-published.
This is a beautifully written historical romance novel. Linda Crist has obviously done extensive research. The scenic descriptions of Galveston and the flood along with the characters, made me feel as though I was actually living the story with the people of Galveston. I could almost smell and taste the great storm.
Each and every character is fully formed and multi-faceted. The story is intricately woven with historical facts and fictional romance. It is a fast paced page turner from beginning to end. It’s multi layered in a colorful way with a depth to it that goes beyond any of the regular historical romance books.
The story of Mattie and the awful abuse she suffered at the hands of her despicable tyrant of a husband, was all too common for those times. Men ruled, women were subservient. Having said this, not every man was like Adam, but they existed and women were definitely the weaker downtrodden sex most of the time.
The love between Rachel and Mattie is a joy to read about. That Mattie should find love and peace is wonderful. But, will she be able to stay safe and away from Adam? Will Rachel get her wish for Mattie to be hers? You’ll have to read the book to find out.
This is without a doubt an epic novel of love, abuse, despair, hard work, intolerance, disaster and above all, hope.
I am hoping that Affinity will release Linda Crist’s other earlier novels too. She is a terrific author and creates wonderful characters in nice scenic settings. It goes without saying that I will definitely read this book again.