In 1772 England, Lady Keturah Banning Tomlinson and her sisters find themselves the heiresses of their father's estates and know they have one option: Go to the West Indies to save what is left of their heritage.
Although it flies against all the conventions for women of the time, they're determined to make their own way in the world. But once they arrive in the Caribbean, proper gender roles are the least of their concerns. On the infamous island of Nevis, the sisters discover the legacy of the legendary sugar barons has vastly declined--and that's just the start of what their eyes are opened to in this unfamiliar world.
Keturah never intends to put herself at the mercy of a man again, but every man on the island seems to be trying to win her hand and, with it, the ownership of her plantation. She could desperately use an ally, but even an unexpected reunion with a childhood friend leaves her questioning his motives.
Set on keeping her family together and saving her father's plantation, can Keturah ever surrender her stubbornness and guarded heart to God and find the healing and love awaiting her?
In this first book of the Sugar Baron's Daughters series, Bergren (Claim) takes readers to 1773 to tell the story of an English heiress who looks to God when suitors pursue her for her estate on the Caribbean island of Nevis. After Mr. Banning dies, his daughters learn that the family sugar plantation in Nevis has not been producing enough to sustain their current lifestyle. Keturah, the oldest, decides she will travel to the island and take care of the plantation herself, reluctantly bringing along her two younger sisters, Verity and Selah. When Keturah's childhood friend Gray Covington discovers he will be sailing to Nevis on the same boat, he offers to escort them, and the four set off together. Gray's own future will also be determined by the success or failure of his family's plantation. At first Keturah shies away from Gray's help, but the harsh realities of island life saboteur neighbors, unscrupulous suitors, hurricanes, and emerging family secrets force Keturah to realize she might need more help than she thought. Through it all, Gray tries to show her how much he's matured from the casually flirtatious boy she once knew into the focused man now working for his inheritance. Strikingly, the sisters and Gray show a care and familiarity with their enslaved plantation workers that feels incongruous to the time period a decision Bergren explains in an author's note and might be off-putting to some readers. Bergren writes eloquently about colonial life in this enjoyable tale that lays the groundwork for other promising books about these three strong women.