by Deb Crockett

February 2003
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The lure of the Mississippi river and the elegant steamboats that plied its muddy waters a century or so ago has long appealed to writers of romance. Something about being confined in a cabin on a hot night with a man whose eyes burn even hotter just plain stirs the blood.

This is the setting for Natchez, an interesting look at one woman’s journey into a new life and the very difficult fight she wages against her harsh circumstances. Turning from a beloved daughter into a penniless orphan makes Rebecca Bennett take a long hard look at where she’s going and who she’s going with! She wants to go with Oliver Sebastian, the man who stole her heart on her riverboat trip upriver to Natchez. But that, sadly, cannot be.

So she settles for Gentleman Jim Brogan, card sharp, possessive lover, and shady denizen of the wrong side of Natchez. Their adventures lead her to her heart’s desire, but it’s a rough road with tragedy and pain along the way.

This was an interesting book, with a good solid plot and it kept me turning the pages until the end. I had a little trouble with Oliver – I’m not sure that he comes across as much a hero as Ms. Crockett wanted him to be. Certainly not one worthy of the amount of effort Rebecca puts into yearning for him. The settings are excellent, however, and made me long for the chance to take that slow paddleboat journey up the Mississippi from New Orleans. The villains are suitably villainous, and the I couldn’t help but cheer at the satisfactory resolution of a major crisis at the very end of the book.

I believe that Deb Crockett has an excellent first novel here, and her ‘voice’ comes through strongly. The text itself is a little stiff at first, but soon slips into a more flowing style. I look forward to more stories from Ms. Crockett, since in my opinion she definitely shows the creative flair necessary to become a fine writer!

Reviewed in April 2003 by Celia.

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