The Promise of Breeze Hill
In 1791, Isabella Bartholomew’s family takes on Connor O’Shea as an indentured servant to rebuild the family home, Breeze Hill, on the Natchez Trace. The house had been damaged by fire and Isabella’s injured father can’t work. Connor agrees to the indenture so he can work towards bringing his brothers over from Ireland. He starts to have feelings for Isabella but is reluctant to act because he thinks she’s above him in station. Isabella is courted by neighbor Nolan Braxton, who, unbeknownst to the Bartholomews, has an eye to acquiring Breeze Hill for himself.
The religious content is not heavy in this inspirational novel. Hillman makes a good choice of giving Connor a painful past with an aristocratic woman back in Ireland as a believable reason for his reluctance to get involved with Isabella. However, the characters careen from one incident to the next, enough that I thought the story would benefit from less action and a bit more description and character development. Braxton as the villain is rather one-dimensional, and a major event in the denouement teeters perilously close to being a deus ex machina ending. It has good points, but on the whole, I can’t recommend the book.