Friday, May 6, 2016

A Shackled Inheritance by Madeleine McDonald

Fate throws the slave owner and the abolitionist together on an island gripped by rumours of a slave revolt. When Euan meets Abigail's family, will her alluring sister steal him from her?

A Shackled Inheritance by Madeleine McDonald
ISBN: 9781509206155
Published: March 11, 2016
Published by:  The Wild Rose Press, Inc.
Trade paperback: 253 pages
Content rating: G

Book Description

Spinster Abigail Carrick faces a frugal existence – until her father's will reveals she has two unknown half-sisters. Free women of colour, they will share her inheritance of a sugar plantation in the Caribbean. Against all advice, Abigail crosses the ocean to meet them. Fellow passenger Euan Sinclair offers her welcome encouragement. As their friendship deepens, the young lawyer is torn between attraction to Abigail and his loathing of slavery. His principles also clash with his duty, for his legal mission is delicate and he dare not fail. Fate throws the slave owner and the abolitionist together on an island gripped by rumours of a slave revolt. When Euan meets Abigail's family, will her alluring sister Desiree steal him from her?

My Review
Reviewed by Sandra Olshaski

Glasgow, Scotland, 1810-11. Abigail is a 20-something smart, beautiful, raven-haired beauty. Upon the death of her respected, church-going father, she learns that he has another family in the West Indies – two grown daughters – free women of colour - there are so many questions to be answered!

Euan Sinclair is the young, idealistic lawyer who breaks the news to her and is her travelling companion as Abigail eagerly embarks on a sea voyage to meet her new family on Buenaventura Island, somewhere near Jamaica. Despite their growing friendship during the long trip, Abigail and Euan are soon at loggerheads. Abigail is 1/3 owner of a slave plantation, while Euan is an avowed abolitionist. How can he possibly have tender feelings for her? They finally arrive at their destination, where both come face to face with the ugly face of slavery. "Everything conspired to remind Abigail she was different. Everywhere she went, there were slaves. It did not matter if their skins were ebony, mahogany or caramel, she sensed their hostile, resentful gaze."   And it doesn’t help that Euan, who Abigail is now in love with, is strongly attracted to her half-sister, sultry Desiree, a slave owner with a condescending attitude toward "the niggers" as she calls them.

Euan disgustedly observes, "you grow hatred here, as much as sugar," so no  wonder that a slave uprising is simmering. As events escalate Euan, Abigail and others flee the island.

This is a very well-written novel, with a steady pace that intensifies to a climax. Slavery isn’t just a backdrop to this story,  but a very real presence with its cruelties and horrible injustices.  Abigail herself tries to adjust to her role of slave owner, taking responsibility for people on the plantation she has inherited.

The character development is excellent.  They are so well drawn that the reader is somehow sympathetic to their diverse viewpoints.

I was happy to learn that this novel was inspired by the true story of a will written 200 years ago. A good read for historical romance fans.

Sandra Olshaski's disclosure: Thanks to the author for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

About the Author:

Madeleine McDonald writes newspaper columns on family life, short stories for radio, creative non-fiction pieces for anthologies and romance novels. You can connect with her at:

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  1. Thanks for the review, Sandra. Buenaventura in A Shackled Inheritance is of course a fictional island, so I did my research using the online archives for Jamaica, which are a treasure trove for historians and authors. Madeleine

  2. I like the sound of this one, Sandra. I love a good historical romance novel with a solid plot and good characters.

  3. I enjoy historical romance and A Shackled Inheritance sounds good!


Thank you for commenting! I appreciate your feedback.

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