Rebel (Women Who Dare)

Written by Beverly Jenkins
Review by Eileen Charbonneau

Valinda Lacy, a proper teacher of freedmen from New York, comes to a Reconstruction New Orleans still under military rule. She is the unlikely heroine of a novel entitled Rebel, the first of the Women Who Dare series. But that is one of the many delights of this historical romance. For Valinda is rebelling against a domineering father and a restricted life. She has chosen a passionless marriage to a childhood friend, but that path is soon disrupted by Drake, one of the interesting Civil War veteran sons of the House of LeVeq. When she and her school are attacked by members of a supremacist band, Captain Drake comes to her defense. Soon his wise mother takes Valinda under her wing and into the family. Drake champions Valinda’s independence and dreams, and the two fight an undeniable attraction. This novel tells a moving love story as it illuminates Reconstruction history—the ugly and violent beginnings of Lost Cause groups, splintered political parties, the class structures within the African American communities, the role of vets in peacekeeping and voter registration, and the treasured importance of literacy.