Lily Anderson watched the passing scenery from the comfort of her uncle’s carriage. Stately mansions with manicured grounds gave way to the smaller, sturdy homes of local merchants as they traveled toward the Mississippi River. They passed a busy mercantile and several shops before the carriage took a sharp leftward downturn toward the raucous, bustling dock that lay far beneath the genteel residences of Natchez’s wealthy plantation owners and merchants.
Natchez Under-the-Hill. She sniffed the air appreciatively as she disembarked, picking up the scents of fresh coffee, burning wood, and fish. How she loved the river. She barely noticed the disreputable, rickety inns and saloons that sprouted like weeds on either side of the winding road called Silver Street.
Roustabouts slumbered in the scant shade of the ramshackle buildings while a pair of glassy-eyed Indians staggered down the street, each clutching a brown bottle close to his chest. Lily’s eyes widened at their blatant drunkenness, but their presence did not deter her eagerness to absorb every detail of her surroundings as she followed Aunt Dahlia.
Voices shouted in an exciting mix of languages. She wondered how many countries were represented in this one place. . .English, French, German, and even lilting Norwegian dialects. The latter brought disturbing memories, but Lily pushed them away, determined to enjoy her outing on the Mississippi River.
As she and her aunt picked their way past bales of cotton and barrels of tobacco, her gaze absorbed the myriad boats lining the banks. Rugged keelboats and waterlogged rafts butted up against lofty steamboats, each awaiting cargo or passengers to be floated down the river to the port of New Orleans.
The beginning of this book grabbed my interest when Lily is chasing a thief who has snatched her retinue containing an embroidered hankie, made by her younger sister, that is meaningful to her. Right away I wanted it returned to Lily, and ran down the ramp with her! I wonder if the ship captain she meets is going to show up again!
Lily moved down the line behind her aunt and came face-to-face with the Champneys' son, the young man who, according to rumor, was the real reason for today's party. He was said to be a bachelor on the lookout for a compliant wife. Her heart sped as she wondered which lady he would find interesting. --page 14Lily doesn't sound very compliant to me! Think he better keep on looking!
Her talent lay in her practicality, her ability to watch out over others and steer them from trouble. --page 18Here I am interested! Lily! I want to get to know you better.
Desperate for financial independence, Lily Anderson has embarked upon a riverboat venture. Will she learn to trust God’s leading or head into disaster? Lily’s partner, Blake Matthews, is initially stymied, then smitten by the Mississippi miss. Can he anchor her heart, or will Lily fall for another man’s wiles?
Cruise down the Mississippi with Natchez belle Lily Anderson. Needing to provide for herself and her sisters, Lily is desperately trying to make a go of a riverboat venture with co-owner Blake Matthews. But they fail to find anything to agree upon. Blake is enamored of the feisty Lily. Attempts to woo her may be lost to the devious Jean Luc Champney. Will the siren song of the river evolve into a serenade or a somber lament?
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And so it begins! Where would you choose to live on this beautiful riverboat? Mr. Matthews is in for surprises it seems, as Lily and her sisters, Camellia and Jasmine, come aboard. Never fear. They have brought their very own chaperone with them. Surprises may be in store for Tamar too.Blake watched in fascination as Miss Anderson took over. How had it come to this? They had been invaded by a marauding army. An army of females. The enemy forces had taken over the Hattie Belle without firing a single shot. --page 97
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Back Cover:A Natchez Belle's Hopes and Dreams Ride on the Mississippi
Lily Anderson longs for a life of adventure, steaming down the Mississippi on a riverboat. But her relatives, wanting her to secure a future for herself and her two younger sisters, are intent on Lily marrying well and foregoing any chance of living out her dream. When a loveless match seems inevitable, Lily makes a last ditch effort to avoid losing her freedom forever by purchasing the steamboat Hattie Belle from the father of debonair Jean Luc Champney--unaware that her precious dowry garners only partial ownership of the vessel.
Roguish gambler Blake Matthew's dreams are finally beginning to take shape after a night of card playing wins him the title to the Hattie Belle. But Blake's brimming confidence in a successful venture is dampened when he meets his new partner--Lily.
As their riverboat enterprise erupts into turmoil, can Lily and Blake discover that God is the One they can count on when all else fails? Will the siren song of the river evolve into a serenade or a somber lament?
This is a family story of growth, acceptance, and forgiveness received and given. Love triumphs. Truth prevails. But not without a struggle and perseverance. Trust. Removing misgivings and working together. Lily and Blake must work out their partnership in the Hattie Belle for the good of all, including themselves. I liked this story as they come to know truth that is beneficial and bears facing. Working together, they overcome adversity. I look forward to the second book in this series as they continue adventures on the mighty Mississippi. The secondary characters were developed very nicely.