Nate is smart, handsome and has ambition, and desperately wants to gain the patent for the machine that makes cigarettes. When Chess, who is 8 years his senior, tells him he can have the patent if he will marry her, he agrees. Ever since he was a teenager, Nate has been in love with the girl who became his brother’s wife. He shows Chess no passion, believing she is not interested. He finds his pleasure elsewhere. Chess is so in love with him, she is willing to take the crumbs he offers her. (We can relate, no?)
Chess is a heroine to love, brave, smart and willing to wait for what she wants. She knows Nate doesn’t love her but she vows to become the business partner he will respect. And she does, sharing with him his dreams and his passion for the tobacco industry. Though he admires her, Nate is not faithful. But a trip to London will show her the affection she has missed and awakens in her the girl she once was.
The story reflects the author’s deep research into the tobacco industry and the era of the late Victorian period in America, both in the South and in London. She captures the life of the idle rich as well as the Americans who were leading the development of new industries and discoveries. It was the spirit of the west, even if not the location.
I didn’t want to put it down!