by Mary Ellis
Bestselling author Mary Ellis (A Widow’s Hope) presents The Last Heiress, a new romantic standalone that intertwines the lives of a British manufacturing heiress and an American merchant caught in the turbulent time of the War Between the States.
Amanda Dunn set sail from England for Wilmington, North Carolina, hoping to somehow restore shipments of cotton for her family’s textile mills, which have been severely disrupted by the American Civil War. But when she meets Nathaniel Cooper, her desire to conduct business and quickly return to England changes.
Amanda’s family across the sea deems the hardworking merchant unsuitable for the lovey and accomplished heiress. And when Nate himself begins to draw away, Amanda has her own battle for a happy future on her hands.
As the War Between the States heats up, Nate’s brother, a Confederate officer, comes for a visit. Nate begins to think about joining up—not in support of slavery but to watch his brother’s back. Yet will this potentially life-changing decision put the union between him and Amanda she so wishes for in jeopardy?
My Review: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
The Last Heiress is the third novel of a trilogy of Civil War novels written by Mary Ellis. I enjoyed all of her stories, but this one was my favorite. Amanda Dunn, a rich heiress, comes to stay with her sister’s family in North Carolina at the close of the Civil War. It is only a matter of time before Union troops close in to destroy the last port open for trade. With all the turmoil around them, each of the main characters is forced to evaluate pre-conceived ideas about race, riches, slavery, and the war itself.
Amanda is a rich heiress who hates slavery and falls in love with a poor shopkeeper. She has to decide if she wants to pursue love or because she is embarrassed by him, side with her family. She also needs to decide if, although her father has never owned slaves, treating employees like slaves is just as bad.
Nate is in love with a rich heiress, but he has always felt rich people are the cause of the evils of the world through their abuse of power.
Abigail, Amanda’s twin, loves her husband but is realizing that he has been wrong about some things. Jackson is a rich slave owner who needs to decide what is most important as he risks losing his fortune.
None of the characters in this novel are cliché. I decide to despise a character, only to find a depth that, in the end, causes me to root for him. The author also didn’t make right and wrong choices easy for the characters to maneuver in as each one had to make hard choices at the close of the war. I highly recommend this novel.