I’ve been struggling with historical romance for a couple of years. For the most part it hasn’t appealed to me except for a few authors. Beverly Jenkins is one of those authors. With Jenkins, I know I’m going to get strong women, great characters who are supportive of each other, and an honest representation of history.
Raven Moreau is a grifter from a family of grifters, con artists, forgers, and thieves. Braxton Steele’s father was an art forger a long time ago. Ruth Welch, a Pinkerton agent, brings Raven and Braxton together when she threatens to throw them and their families in jail if they don’t work with her to recover a stolen copy of the Declaration of Independence.
One of my favorite things at the beginning of a romance is when characters have a plan for how their life is going to go, and even better when they think they’ve got the whole love, marriage and family thing figured out. Brax has very definite ideas about how his life is going to go, and pretending to be married to some con artist thief isn’t part of the plan. He pretty quickly realizes he needs to set aside his judgements and learn to work with Raven if he wants to get out from under the Pinkerton’s threat.
To Catch a Raven takes place in 1878, 13 years after the Civil War ended and a year after the end of Reconstruction. White supremacists are snatching back power and the Mississippi Plan (disenfranchising Black people through terror and violence) is becoming more common. Even in Boston, Braxton and his father know they are not safe from trumped up charges made by a white Pinkerton agent. Within this setting, Jackson’s characters are supportive of each other and protect each other. The Moreau family works together to make sure future generations are more secure financially. Braxton uses his time and money to support his Black community in Boston and the people who come into his orbit. The way he quietly takes care of and pampers Raven is lovely.
If you haven’t read Beverly Jenkins, I strongly recommend her books.
CW: Racism, segregation, threats of violence, threats of racial violence, blackmail, incarceration, memories of war, one use of the n word, discussions of slavery.
I received this as an advance reader copy from Avon via NetGalley. My opinions are my own, freely and honestly given.