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Historian Barrett Browning develops a close relationship with Edgar Jamison as they consider the historic value of the Windswept Plantation records for research and possible publication. Edgar Jamison dies before the project barely gets started and his grandson Davis inherits the huge pile of papers as executor of Edgar's estate.

Barrett must convince Davis, keeper of the records and protector of the family name, she should continue the project. She hopes to make the same arrangement with Davis that she had with his grandfather, a contract that could make or break her career.

Although Davis thinks the boxes he has accrued are nothing but a headache, he decides the best way to keep an eye on Barrett, and to protect his family, is to cut a deal. She can have full access to the large mass of correspondence, ledgers and journals, and freely publish any information she retrieves, as long as she agrees to move into his house for the duration of her research, working out of his home office. Thrilled to have such ready access to the material, she quickly agrees to his terms.

Ann Macela has written an intriguing tale of family loyalty versus the publics' right to historical accuracy. Neither Davis nor Barrett have any idea she will stumble onto a terrible secret that threatens to ruin the Jamison name. Also unexpected is the length his family will go to protect their reputation.

As tension mounts, will Barrett remain focused on her need for tenure and the project at hand, or will her growing desire for a future with Davis cause her to veer away from fulfilling her dream? Adding an air of suspense are the transitional scenes between an 1830's Louisiana and the present day, smoothly tying the two eras together. Windswept is a book well worth reading.

Book Blurb for Windswept

A terrible secret lurks in the papers of the Windswept Plantation and its revelation will ruin the Jamison name, or so family memories claim. To Barrett Browning, however, the collection of correspondence, ledgers, and journals is a treasure trove of potential publications sure to gain her a valuable promotion at her university. As a historian, her job is to root out secrets from the past and hold them up to the light, no matter the cost. The farthest thing from her mind is getting involved with the papers' owner-much less falling in love with him.

To venture capitalist Davis Jamison, the pile of boxes is a headache he must deal with to protect the family. What better way to solve the mystery than to have an expert inventory the papers in his own house? He expects neither his cousin's frantic obsession to keep all family sins hidden from view, nor the fierce need he comes to feel for Barrett. He's sworn never again to trust a woman with his property or his heart. Can he rely on Barrett to guard both?

A secret will out, however, and it's found in the journal of the first Jamison plantation mistress. Hiding the truth brings Barrett to a difficult choice: success with her career or a life with Davis. Revealing the truth brings Davis to an equally hard decision: ruin the family reputation or risk all to have Barrett forever.

Night Owl Reviews Jan, 2008 4.00