The earliest Scotch, Irish, and Dutch immigrants had been drawn to the misty, ancient mountains of western North Carolina by rumors of rubies and other precious gems mined by the Cherokees. The rumors were more than true. The newcomers plucked fine stones from the riverbanks, from the hillsides, from the ruts in deeply churned wagon roads. They riddled the mountains with mine shafts, looking for more.
This is a sweeping love story that spans decades. In Pandora, North Carolina, the Cherokee and mountain people are mainly overlooked by the outside world and that’s the way they like it. The Ravenclaws, a Cherokee family with a special connection to the mountain, are able to find things, like gems and people. The Vanderveers are the royalty of the mountain and treat everyone with respect. Then Alexandra enters the picture and causes an irreparable rift between these two family and changes the town of Pandora forever.
Doesn’t sound like a love story? Well, Jake Ravenclaw and Samantha, niece to Alexandra, have a connection that started when Sam was four. Over the years they see each other occasionally, but in secret and love blossoms. The two agreed to be married when Sam was about five and Jake ten and they both clung to that. Of course, neither is ordinary and both felt like outsiders, so the connection to each other was great.
This is a grand sweeping love story that is not sticky sweet at all. First, Alexandra is a character that was filled with so much hate, maybe the best ‘bad guy’ I’ve read in quite a while. She keeps this story grounded in manipulation and lies. Second, there are great secondary characters that carry some of the heavy lifting in the storytelling. And the last thing keeping this love story from sugar overload? The fact that the prologue is written when Sam is waiting for Jake to visit her for the first time after he is released from prison and they haven’t spoken in the ten years he’s been sent away.
I loved this story and recommend it to romance lovers who like the romance, more than the hot, steamy sex and for anyone interested in the mountain culture or Cherokee traditons.