A breathtaking and unforgettable story of a woman torn between her family and the man she loves.
1912, British Guiana, South America: Winnie Cox is about to marry George Quint, the love of her life. Born into a life of luxury and privilege on her father’s sugar plantation, Winnie has turned her back on her family by choosing to be with George – a poor black postman from the slums.
Winnie may be living in poverty, but she’s got what her sister Johanna doesn’t have: a loving husband and a beautiful family. And despite Johanna running her family’s sugar plantation, Winnie will always be their mother’s favourite daughter, a bitter pill for Johanna to swallow.
Then Winnie’s son falls ill and she must travel to Venezuela desperate for a cure. With her sister away, Johanna finds herself increasingly drawn to George. But he only has eyes for Winnie. Johanna, stung by the rejection and the fragile state of her own marriage, is out for revenge – no matter how devastating the consequences.
The Sugar Planter’s Daughter is breathtakingly beautiful and I was completely absorbed in this epic family saga.
We are taken back to another era as the story takes place in British Guiana during 1912, 1918 and then eighteen months later. Told in first person narrative by different family members, George, Winnie, Yoyo (Johanna) and Ruth, the different narratives work well in giving all the perspectives and feelings of those involved.
The characterisation is fantastic with Sharon giving each their unique tone. As you follow them on their personal journey you get to know each one individually and become totally absorbed in their emotions. I adored Winnie and George. At times a heartbreaking story, I went through a whole realm of emotions reading their tale.
Yoyo’s character, while difficult to like, I found understandable. She is clearly a product of her class and upbringing and the political situation of the time has impacted on her behaviour. I could appreciate where it was coming from and felt a degree of empathy for her.
Full of rich, vivid descriptions, I could smell, taste and see Promised Land, the family’s sugar plantation. Every time I opened this book I was totally transported to a different time and place. Sharon encapsulates the setting and time wonderfully and this is a testament to her writing skills.
This is a sublime work of historical fiction, Sharon has clearly done a lot of research. All of the, quite frankly horrifying, attitudes towards black people that were held during colonial Britain and the time of slavery are there, and give the reader a sense of the differences between race and class that prevailed during this time period. Although you know these attitudes existed, it is still shocking to read about and makes you think about our history. I found it incredibly moving. There is the perfect mix of politics and engaging family drama which make this book so enjoyable.
This is the second book in Sharon’s Quint Trilogy, however, it works perfectly as a standalone novel if you have not read the first one, The Secret Life of Winnie Cox.
A sweeping story about family, class and race, I was totally enthralled by this book. Fans of historical fiction and family sagas will love it. Highly recommended.
Thank you to Sharon Maas, Bookouture and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
Published by Bookouture on 22 July 2016.