Saturday, April 7, 2012
Veil of Pearls by MaryLu Tyndall (ARC)
Veil of Pearls actually looks at the topic of slavery and discrimination. The protagonist Adalia/Alethea is one-quarter black, so while she looks white, she is treated like a slave by the man who stole her away - Sir Walter. But she manages to escape and since she looks white, she gets a job as a doctor's assistant while catching the attention of the youngest son of one of the most prominent families in town - Morgan.
While most of the harsh realities of slavery are sheltered (Adalia is a house slave and the whipping is not mentioned in great detail), the book manages to convey the inferiority that discrimination and slavery bring. One instant is when Adalia is out walking with her friend/maid Joy, who is obviously black, and pulls her behind her (they were walking side by side before) when people she knows approaches. This is because she wants to be accepted in their eyes, although she professes not to like the slave-owning elite of society.
The romance plot of the book is actually really sweet and quite complex. Apart from the whole race issue, both Morgan and Adalia struggle with their own personal issues, be it family or fear of slavery. What I enjoyed reading was how in the end, both of them gave up their issues to God, with Adalia re-affirming her love for God and Morgan finally coming to know Him.
The only thing I didn't really understand was the role of the man in white. I'm guessing he functions as some sort of externalised conscience, but for some reason, it took me quite some time to grasp that fact, even though I should know that white symbolises purity.
All in all, this is a really sweet historical romance book that isn't merely about the relationship.
Disclaimer: I got this book from NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.