Sunday, September 21, 2014

New Review: Cordia Byers’ NICOLE LABELLE – Southern Bayou Beauty Finds Love with a Man Who Seeks Vengeance

Set in Louisiana around 1830, beginning in the bayou, this is the story of Nicole Sentelle, whose father, a trapper, is an evil man, causing the death of Nicole’s highborn mother. Her mother’s dying wish was that Nicole would return to their cousin and rich relation, Quinton DuPree, master of the Live Oak plantation. But the note she gave Nicole to carry with her was left behind when Nicole fled into the swamp after her mother’s death and her father threatened her. It was there she met Alex Chandler in a chance encounter and he helped her to bury her mother.

Nicole arrives at Live Oak in a bedraggled condition, but is immediately accepted by Quinton, older than her by 20 years and a kind widower. Suddenly, his lonely days are full of life. Nicole reminds him of her mother whom he loved deeply. Not surprisingly, he falls in love with Nicole and asks her to marry him. On the eve of their wedding, unbeknownst to anyone, Nicole’s father kills Quinton. Seeing the body, Nicole flees in sadness and is thrown from her horse to awaken with amnesia.

Alex Chandler, who would have had Live Oak but for the change in Quinton’s will to leave it to Nicole, believes Nicole shot Quinton and now Alex seeks vengeance on the beautiful girl.

Byers has given us a great plot with mystery and some great twists. I did think that in places, Alex’s mistrust of Nicole and his harsh behavior (once leaving her in a weakened condition on the wrong side of town in the dead of night) was a bit over the top. And their coming together in the end seemed a bit abrupt. Notwithstanding these things, and while not at the same level as her Pirate Royale, this is an engrossing read.

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