Bestselling author Mary Ellis (A Widow's Hope) presents The Last Heiress, a new romantic standalone that intertwines the lives of a British manufacturing heiress and an American merchant caught in the turbulent time of the War Between the States.
Amanda Dunn set sail from England for Wilmington, North Carolina, hoping to somehow restore shipments of cotton for her family's textile mills, which have been severely disrupted by the American Civil War. But when she meets Nathaniel Cooper, her desire to conduct business and quickly return to England changes.
Amanda's family across the sea deems the hardworking merchant unsuitable for the lovey and accomplished heiress. And when Nate himself begins to draw away, Amanda has her own battle for a happy future on her hands.
As the War Between the States heats up, Nate's brother, a Confederate officer, comes for a visit. Nate begins to think about joining up—not in support of slavery but to watch his brother's back. Yet will this potentially life-changing decision put the union between him and Amanda she so wishes for in jeopardy?
Amanda Dunn, heiress to an English textile fortune, is asked by her ailing father to travel to Wilmington, N.C., to resume cotton shipments to the mills, since the supply has been disrupted by the Civil War. While there she can also repair her relationship with her twin sister, now the wife of an American gentleman. Amanda does as asked, reuniting with Abigail Henthorne, reestablishing cotton shipments with the help of her brother-in-law, and meeting dashing shopkeeper Nate Cooper along the way. The Civil War and slavery are part of the narrative, with Amanda and Nate debating whether England's servant class is any different from the slaves. Certain questions may distract the reader: did Wilmington not experience the drastic food shortages of other cities? Could a boat really remain hidden in a cove from the Yankees? Overall, however, this is a pleasant tale offering romance, a unique look at the war, and discussion of the social norms of the day.