by Channing Hayden

May 2001
ISBN: 0-595-17300-4
Reviewer Graphic Button IUniverse
Trade Paperback

This novel takes place in New Oreleans, starting in 1897.

Sara Beth LaBranche was a child becoming a young woman, when she noticed her father looking at her the way he shouldn't. She knew she had to leave her mother and brother before something happened.

A rough start led to a place called Vestal House, where Sara Beth was degraded in ways she didnt understand by old men who had syphilis and believed that bedding a virgin would cure them of this terrible condition. Escaping to the streets, she was at her lowest when she meet Miss Myda. Miss Myda was also a Madam, but she was well respected by her peers, she ran a clean house, treated her girls with respect. She changed Sara Beth`s life on that day.

Miss Myra suggested to Sara after a few years, Sara should rent a room away from The District. Sara agrees, she moves in with Annedette Cheramie, a charming woman who takes to Sara right away. Here Sara meets Frank, Annedette`s grandson, who is a doctor. Frank is researching a cure for a eye disease. Sara becomes his nurse, accountant, and research assistant. She finds herself falling in love with Frank, but she has to keep her life away from him a secret at all costs.

As Sara and Frank battle the 1905 Yellow Fever Epidemic together, her secret becomes closer to being exposed. She grooms a young woman, Frances, to become Frank`s wife, but Frank has eyes only for Sara. Will Sara be able to keep her secret? How will Frank react when he does find out the truth about the woman he loves?

This is not your typical love story, it is in my opinion, more than just a love story, it is how people change, why it is important to be honest with yourself and people in your life. It is also about learning to forgive people, and that sometimes how you live your life isn't a choice, but is forced on you.

Reviewed in August 2004 by Pat.

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