A love that can never be….
Angela Christina Archer’s “The Woman on The Painted Horse” has been on my TBR pile for a while and this week I treated myself to a long-overdue read.
Alexandra Monroe is the feisty and gusty heroine, telling the story from her POV, and on the cusp of womanhood, and still pressed on the opposing thumb of her parents. Born into a wealthy Montgomery Alabama family, living during the Civil War, she has prestige, honor and everything a young lady could want or need. Sort of. There are certain fundamental things lacking at home.
And Alexandra is a also a slave smuggler, covertly doing what she can for the area slaves, and risking her life with each run she makes. If her domineering parents only knew of her dangerous exploits. They want her to marry Thomas Ludlow. His family rolls in wealth, rank high in society and marriage between Alexandra and Thomas will both secure their rank in society and provide Alexandra with resources and funds for even more slave smuggling.
Except Thomas is a narcissistic, cruel, bullying, miserable SOB that you would gladly kick into next month. And keep kicking. That kind of guy you just naturally and easily hate to pieces.
Except Alexander has met William Greysden, from the local Indian tribe. Their love will never be accepted by Alexandra’s family, by society or William’s tribe.
What can a young lady of society, and covert slave smuggler, possibly do?
Warning, this is not a fluffy romance, packed with mindless kisses and passionate sex. This is a gritty novel, set during one of our nation’s more turbulent times, written in sometimes a disturbingly comparable turbulence. Alexandra, and those dear to her, endure treatment no human should ever witness or endure. This book can be achingly ugly and cruel in its honesty. Sometimes it just hurts to read it.
And it also is a beautiful love story, of a love that could be and should not, and a love that should be but cannot. Which one will finally win? It is an honest story, one I will not spoil, as the reader will turn pages till the end, wondering.