The Valley: Book One of the Valley Trilogy

Written by Helen Bryan
Review by Viviane Crystal

Sophia Grafton, the daughter of a British nobleman in 1754, grows up spoiled, wild and free in a society that decries such behavior. Eventually, her father realizes change must come and bribes his daughter into cooperation with the offer of beautiful and fashionable clothing that will guarantee the success of her “coming out” into the upper echelons of British society. Little does Sophia know that her father’s lavish spending has driven them to the point of poverty. All that remains, after Lord Grafton’s sudden death, is a tobacco plantation in the colonial New World, which Sophia inherits. Now, Sophia shows her true mettle as she travels to America and soon escapes the drunken, grasping will of her appointed guardian. She meets Henri de Marechal, a French spy posing as a dance master. After her harrowing escape, it is Henri, whom she again meets on her journey down South, who will save her through her own audacious plan of marriage for convenience’s sake.

The reader shares how dangerous and wild America was; these travelers are close to death from starvation and illness by the time they finally arrive at their destination, only to find a ramshackle cabin and no tobacco fields or anything else on which to build a business. This is the story of how they build up the plantation, meanwhile suffering the loss of children, Indian attacks, and numerous trials, but they are bonded by their immense love for each other and the beautiful land on which they dwell and flourish. It’s a true story representing how America was built on the backs, blood, sweat and tears of its settlers. Wonderful, realistic, harrowing and delightful historical fiction that this reviewer highly recommends!