by Latrell E. Mickler
PageTurner Press and Media

"It’s a jungle, Rafael,” Caterina said, as she slapped at hordes of hungry, black mosquitos."

Looking to find a better life for himself and his wife, Caterina, Rafael Reyes indentures himself and Caterina to the New Smyrna Plantation of Dr. Andrew Turnbull. Though excited about their prospects in this new world, their dreams are dashed when they realize Turnball, a cruel master, has no intent to honor the contract specifics. In fact, they find themselves starving, sick, and without shelter after landing on Florida’s east coast. As the situation on the plantation becomes dire, Rafael and Caterina know they must escape the cruelty of their situation.

They meet Joseph Adams and his wife, Sarah, who offer them shelter. Sarah is in bad health, and Joseph enlists Caterina as a companion for his wife. Rafael must return to New Smyrna but is relieved that Caterina and their unborn child will be far from the hands of Turnbull. However, neither can know on the day of Rafael’s parting what strange turns their lives will take.

This historical novel is set in eighteenth-century Florida during the time of the Revolutionary War as Britain, Spain, and the American colonies all vie for possession of Florida’s east coast. Mickler skillfully combines the many aspects of this period to produce a novel filled with interesting details of life during this time in history. She not only reveals the unimaginable plight of East European indentured servants, but she also captures the lives of the native tribes of Florida. These First People are brought to life by Mickler’s depictions of their activities and festivals. Captivating readers from its beginning, the novel holds one's attention throughout with several plot twists to pique the reader’s interest. Those who enjoy historical novels with a unique storyline will love this one.

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