"Veil of Pearls" is a story that cannot be placed in a nutshell. Revolving around the heroine, a Barbadian slave named Althea Claymore (aka Adalia Winston) and her flight, escape, and struggles in her new, ever-threatened freedom, the story mixes romance, drama, history, faith, and lessons on prejudice/tolerance WITHOUT preaching to the reader. Author MaryLu Tyndall- who I was surprised to see was not noticeably of a minority ethnicity herself- wrote with a hand that did not waver, packing in details and grit and beauty with every page of this period set just before the War of 1812. I could see the transformations and love growing between Adalia and Morgan, the bitter hostility they both faced in their 'homes', and most of all, the struggle that Adalia and then Morgan (as well as a number of secondary characters!) went through, to change themselves to accept what God had planned for them despite outside forces and inner assumptions
I’ll admit, I decided, upon crossing the synopsis for "Veil of Pearls", to give it a try for two reasons. First, having recently been introduced to Barbadian culture through a friend, I found myself intrigued by a culture that, though once a British colony, that retained so much their own distinct flavor and values. And secondly, being a woman of color, I almost felt that I should read it, if only to imagine their history from that perspective. What I didn't count on was truly connecting with the thoughts, feelings, and general cultural struggles of the times all throughout this one book! Though some scenes were written as quite long due to shifting first persons making this a true novel at 300+ pages, overall, the story flowed well and engagingly, and after a rough start (what can I say? I’m a Sean Connery over Roger Moore kind-of girl), I was soon rooting for the home couple in earnest. I’d recommend this book to my family, but also to my co-workers or church family as a something that every woman can relate to. The message? That it requires strength to love yourself enough to BE yourself (loving who you love, praying to who you believe in, etc.), and that living by Faith that what’s meant to be will be if you just follow your hearts.
She thought she could outrun her past. . .
It is 1811, and the prosperous port city of Charleston is bustling with plantation owners, slaves, and immigrants. Immigrants such as the raven-haired Adalia Winston. But Adalia has a secret: her light skin belies that she is part black and a runaway slave from Barbados. Skilled in herbal remedies, Adalia finds employment with a local doctor and settles into a quiet life, thankful for her freedom but still fearful that her owner will find her.
Born into one of Charleston’s prominent families, Morgan Rutledge is handsome, bored—and enamored of the beautiful Adalia, who spurns his advances. Morgan’s persistence, however, finally wins, and Adalia is swept into the glamorous world of Charleston high society.
But her new life comes at a high price—that of denying her heritage and her zeal for God. How far is Adalia willing to go to win the heart of the man she loves? And when her secret is revealed, will that love be enough, or will the truth ruin Morgan and send Adalia back into slavery?