For readers who love a heartwarming romance and a rich historical setting comes a tale of a young woman with a heavy burden, the International Cotton Exposition, and the pursuit of true love.
Eighteen-year-old Laurel Millard, youngest of seven children, is expected to stay home and "take care of Mama" by her older siblings, but Laurel has dreams of starting her own family. Operating a silk loom at the Atlanta Exposition will give her the chance to capture the heart of a man wealthy enough to take care of Laurel and any children she might bear, as well as her mother.
Langdon Rochester's parents have given him an ultimatum: settle down with a wife or lose his family inheritance. At the Exposition, Langdon meets Laurel. Marrying her would satisfy his parents's command, she would look lovely on his arm for social events, and in her besotted state, he believes she would overlook him continuing pursuing rowdy adventures with his unmarried buddies. Langdon decides to woo Laurel. Willie Sharp is not well-off and must take on an extra job at the Atlanta Exposition as a security guard. When mischief-makers cause trouble in the Women's Building, Willie is put in charge of keeping the building secure. He enjoys visiting with Laurel, who seems like the little sister he never had, but his feelings for Laurel change to something much deeper. Can Willie convince Laurel that he can give her better life--even with so little to offer?
In this finely wrought story, Vogel Sawyer (Waiting for Summer's Return) takes reader to the 1895 Cotton Exposition in Atlanta. Willie Sharp takes a job at the Expo to pay for his father's medical treatment after he suffers a stroke. Laurel Millard, meanwhile, is expected by her older siblings to care for their aging mother, but Laurel has dreams of a family of her own. Believing she might meet a wealthy bachelor who can fulfill her desires and help her meet her family obligations, Laurel becomes a weaver in the Silk House, which runs state-of-the-art looms within the expedition. While there are slight romantic elements, Vogel Sawyer focuses on the racial disparities of the time. Quincy Tate, who is black, gets a job as a groundskeeper for the Expo, while Willie works as a security guard there and gets posted at the Silk House after a break-in at the Women's Building. But the two work in far different positions. After Willie becomes the guard of Laurel's section, they get closer, and his strength of character shines brightly despite others looking down on him due to his socioeconomic status. The result is a truly inspirational tale cemented in the bonds of family and true friendship.