I think that Love's Sweet Beginning is a way better Southern-Belle-Meets-Post-War-Reality story than Scarlett O'Hara's was.
Now that I've got that out of the way....
Cassiopeia Haddon was gifted with a beautiful name, a name that seemed to fit in her pleasant pre-war life, before her fortune was lost and her fiancee died. Now that she and her mother are nearly penniless and living off of grudging charity, she goes by Cassie.
She isn't sure what her identity is anymore. Is she just a refined lady who can't clean her own kitchen? Is she useless, as she has been called?
With those harsh words ringing in her ears Cassie decides that she will care for herself and her mother, right now, no matter how hard the adjustment is.
And that decision is the first sign that Cassiopeia is a plucky girl. And I like pluck. I like to think that I would be able to keep cheerful and hopeful if a curveball came my way as it did when Cassie ended up living in a little woodshed/cabin. I have a woodshed like that on my property, and I love the image of her scrubbing the floor and walls where there are ground-in shavings and mouse nests and cobwebs. When she finished, I felt her tired exaltation. She realized that although it wasn't shining clean, it was as clean as humanly possible, and she learned that her best was good enough.
She finds that she isn't timid, useless, wilting Cassie. She's bold and brave and can make good decisions. She can decide who she wants in her life and who she doesn't. She enjoys her own emancipation and independence, and she also blooms in her relationships. Cassie comes to know and love a variety of people whom she never would have met in her narrow existence.
Between her own ingenuity and diligence and some well-timed acts of kindness towards her, Cassie learned how to make a home and how to be a friend.
If you're in a period of transition in your life, if you're taking the next step into some unknown path, then you may just smile and laugh as you read Love's Sweet Beginning.
Thank you Revell for my review copy! I will be seeking out the rest of Ann Shorey's books.
I was blessed to have a mother who read to me, and in so doing gifted me with a love of books that has defined my life. In school I spent as much time reading the novels hidden behind my textbooks as I did paying attention to my lessons. Guess that’s how I developed the ability to write stories in my head while working at day-to-day tasks.