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For Her Love

Paula Reed

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For Her Love

Grace vowed that one day she would return to change the lives of her fatherís slavesÖ

As a child, Grace had been molested by her stepmotherís brother. Due to her fatherís intervention, she had not been raped, but her uncle could not resist taunting her about her true parentage before he was ejected from the house. Graceís mother had been a mulatto who was forced to have sex with her father, the master of a Jamaican sugar plantation. Her real mother was the product of a similar union involving her stepmotherís father.

Edmund Welbourne had cut out the tongue of Graceís nursemaid, Mutu to keep the secret of his only heirís Negro blood.

Grace had always been witness to the cruelty and neglect her father had shown towards the slaves. Her stepmother took pleasure in whipping them for the smallest transgression, and teased Grace by saying that she would put her to work out in the fields. She always felt that it was only by the grace of God that she was living in the household and her sense of guilt meant that Grace went out of her way to treat the slaves decently and give medical assistance if possible.

Giles Courtney had never really liked dealing with slave owners, but it was necessary if his ships were to move goods. When he called at the Welbourne plantation, he was enchanted by the sight of Edmund Welbourneís beautiful golden skinned daughter, Grace. She was initially reluctant to accept his courting, which Giles found perplexing, as she obviously did not have a happy home life. He came to understand that Grace believed that the slaves needed her. The night Giles watched Grace give comfort to a small Negro girl as she died unnecessarily from an untreated infection was an eye-opener.

Although Grace had come to know Giles and admire his anti-slavery stance, she had to be forced to leave with him because she could not bear to part from Mutu. Her stepmother refused to let the maid go with them out of spitefulness. When Grace leaves the plantation and they row out towards her new husbandís ship, readers are made well aware of Graceís heart-wrenching terror. She is sure that one day her secret parentage will become known and Giles will be ashamed of her. At the heart of her angst is the absolute despair that this man will violate her body, as her uncle had attempted. Even though she is almost in shock from her fear, Grace shows an enormous amount of courage because she knows that Mutu has sacrificed enough for her. Mutu had implored her to leave and Grace knew that it was for them both. Her concern for the slaves that are left behind is also tangible.

As Giles and Grace begin to know each other, they question their decision for a hasty wedding. Grace is overwhelmed with the personal hurdles that she must overcome to live in harmony, whilst Giles must deal with a highly volatile female, something that he has always avoided. Once again, Paula Reed will take readers on an emotional and heart-warming journey. Life as a slave or a free African during the 17th century is laid bare by many different characters throughout the book and one cannot be anything but moved by their plight. Although Grace had always considered herself to be Negro, it is not until she views her lifestyle in hindsight that she can see how much she had not contemplated fully, or appreciated. Giles also comes to question his past actions; he had never condoned slavery but had done nothing to stop the practice. Whilst he was always fair, his new insights made Giles realise how impersonal he had been with his own black crewmembers. Erotic moments are explicit and natural, and out of consideration for Graceís past abuse, very tender.

For Her Love is the second in a series, beginning with Into His Arms. It is complete on its own and no knowledge of the first book is necessary, but Iím sure that readers will want to have both of these as keepers. I look forward to Nobodyís Saint, a third book, which features a Spaniard who has played an intrinsic role in the series.

Reviewed by: Naomi

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