But what you’ll have instead will be burnished and hardened and battle-proven as this land. And that, to me, is a richer love. It’s a real marriage.

Deepwater is a very chunky book (with tiny font!) set in the Cape Fear region of North Carolina. The story spans several generations, from 1711 through the end of the Civil War and Restoration period. The prologue begins with the lost settlement of Roanoke (including the author’s spin on what happened to those who went missing), and is then broken into three parts. In the first, sisters Tess and Glory Hannock aren’t willing to let something like a marriage separate them when Tess marries a dashing privateer. It isn’t true love forever, but Tess isn’t one to let that stop her and through her experiences we watch the colony grow and prosper until those little disputes with the King over taxation without representation get started…

The second section is centered around Tess’s niece Della (younger sister Glory’s daughter). Della’s been spoiled and travelled abroad, and when she comes home she hones in on wealthy plantation owner Phillip Gage and she’s determined to marry him and become mistress of Deepwater. Phillip is loyal to King George, so you can imagine things get a bit complicated when just about everyone else is on the rebel side, including his wife. The last third of the book begins in 1850 and is centered around Phillips heir, Laurel Gage. Laurel marries a Quaker and owning slaves is not the *done thing* for him, but paying for labor takes its toll on Deepwater and slowly eats away at the acreage and profits.

That’s about all you need to know. This is one of those books that is too difficult to recap without writing a book report, and I’m not of a mind to do it. I liked this a lot, especially as the story focused on the people and the land, there really wasn’t a lot of interaction with real historical characters. Better still, despite the two wars involved in the story, there are no real battle scenes, nor are they touched upon in any great detail – no endless info dumps telling the reader about every major battle in excruciating detail. How refreshing. The only downside that might be a deal breaker is that these aren’t a set of characters you’re going to get emotionally involved with; nor do any of the three women have a great *love story*. If you’re looking for romance, I suggest you keep on looking.

Last quibble, and nothing to do with the book itself, but part of the publisher’s blurb:

Seleta…The wife of a Quaker abolitionist, she saw her beloved land fall to the Yankees. Yet is wasn’t the horror of war that became her greatest challenge…it was her battle to save her young son.

Ummmm, Seleta was Laurel’s daughter and wasn’t a grown woman with children until well towards the end of the book and she was pretty much out of the picture by then.

It’s a good thing you-know-who hasn’t reviewed it. Then we’d finally know whether or not she reads the books 🙂