Beautiful Reads Gives Five Stars to SOJOURN WITH A STRANGER

SOJOURN WITH A STRANGER
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NEW CONCEPTS PUBLISHING

Orphaned when her parents died in a fishing accident in Virginia, Raine Brinsley wants nothing more than to head straight home to Maine and forget her sadness and trauma of nearly drowning. Unfortunately, without her parents’ protection, Raine is penniless and homeless. The owner of the boat on which they were sailing, Derek Stafford, has graciously offered to let her stay as long as needed and also to pay her passage to return home. Raine refuses to receive charity, so they agree that she will become a chambermaid at Stafford House until she has earned enough money to return home.

Stafford House has an underlying sadness that Raine does not fully understand, but Derek explains that his wife Lucinda passed on six months previously, and Raine believes this to be the reason – until she feels the presence of an unsettled spirit inhabiting the upstairs hallway.

Derek Stafford is torn between grief for his wife and the duty he feels to his father. Julian Stafford is an old-fashioned and unyielding man who is most insistent that either Derek or brother Lyman father a male heir to carry on the proud name of Stafford. Lyman and his wife have three daughters, while Lucinda suffered both miscarriages and stillborns. Julian offers the first son to produce a male heir Stafford House and its vast acreage, and Derek, loving Stafford House and his way of life, hatches a plan. He has a contract drawn up that offers Raine ten thousand dollars if she will agree to bear the male heir his father so desperately wants, and then relinquish the child, never to see him again. Raine is taken aback when Derek presents his proposal but eventually agrees. Will Raine honor the contract as presented? Will Derek reconsider the decision?

I applauded Raine for her strength in the face of her parents’ deaths, especially during a time where women were seen as needing constant protection. Her determination not to accept Derek’s charity was admirable, as was her willingness to tackle any job she was assigned. Although she was a strong woman, her gentleness was demonstrated in her concern for the spirit and her attempts to understand its message. The contrasts within the family were quite believable, and the characters were well developed and realistic, though not always likable. This story has everything and then some – romance, birth, death, voodoo, adventure, psychic ability, and a touch of Civil War – and I could not put it down. K. Celeste Bryan has once again done a wonderful job of involving the reader in the lives of her characters, and I highly recommend this book.

5 out of 5 stars

Book Stats:
• E-book: electronic, digital formatting
• Publisher: New Concepts Publishing
• Language: English
• ISBN: 978-1-60394-246-1

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