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Rebel, June 2019
by Beverly Jenkins

384 pages
ISBN: 0062861689
EAN: 9780062861689
Kindle: B0796SHBJ6
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
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"Another epic romance from the incomparable Beverly Jenkins!"

Fresh Fiction Review

Beverly Jenkins

Reviewed by Monique Daoust
Posted May 16, 2019

Romance Historical | Multicultural Romance

While her intended was on business in Europe, Valinda Lacy traveled to New Orleans to teach freedmen and their children for a few months. She loves the city, but it's a dangerous place to be in 1867, especially for a woman of color. Only a month in, and Valinda's school is destroyed, her livelihood threatened, but thanks to Drake LeVeq, who crossed her path at the right time, nothing worse happened. Drake comes from a caring and influential family, and he willingly helps Valinda. He is very much attracted to her, but dares not hope for more; he's an honorable man and she's spoken for. Valinda has never known love, not even from her own family; her beau is a trustworthy childhood friend, and a better choice for a husband than whomever her father would pick for her. But Drake, his loving family, and New Orleans soon have her questioning her choices.

REBEL is a gripping novel that tackles life in the aftermath of the American Civil War. It is an homage to the human spirit as well as a most romantic love story. I think we sometimes forget that people still did fall in love, even under trying circumstances. History relates the dry facts, but Beverly Jenkins reminds us that life went on. People of color fought every day to achieve the freedom to live in peace and not have to look over their shoulder because of the color of their skin, but they also loved and laughed.

REBEL is the first book of Beverly Jenkins's new series Women Who Dare, and as characters from the author's previous books pop up, I realized that I need to explore Ms. Jenkins's catalog for some older books; I will not be the only one curious about a certain pirate. Beverly Jenkins' crisp and evocative prose paints an unforgettable portrait of New Orleans. Its sensuous colors, smells, tastes, and sounds coexisting with potential danger and death. Drake and Valinda's romance is the ultimate slow burn and magnificently handled by the author, although I wanted to shake Valinda a couple of times, because you don't see men like Drake every day, not even in fiction! I loved that they had real occupations: Valinda was born to be a teacher, and Drake is an architect, an engineer, a carpenter, and a smith; and he actually builds things during the course of the book.

REBEL is just so well written and flows so seamlessly that you feel transported back in time. The author's knowledge and research are exemplary, and in the Author's Note, you will find a short and useful bibliography. Ms. Jenkins is never heavy-handed but illustrates clearly the era's terrible reality just as well as she makes palpable the growing passion between Drake and Valinda. Their romance is really what it's all about: affection, respect, and always have the other one's back. I'm so grateful for Beverly Jenkins's historical novels because of heroes and heroines I can look up to, whom I admire separately and individually, and who behave bravely and rationally. Her love stories are truly romantic, and the historical context isn't merely a background but constitutes the fabric upon which the romance is embroidered, and that is why I keep reading Beverly Jenkins' uniquely inspiring books.

Learn more about Rebel


The first novel in USA Today Bestselling Author Beverly Jenkins’s compelling new series follows a Northern woman south in the chaotic aftermath of the Civil War . . .

Valinda Lacey’s mission in the steamy heart of New Orleans is to help the newly emancipated community survive and flourish. But soon she discovers that here, freedom can also mean danger. When thugs destroy the school she has set up and then target her, Valinda runs for her life—and straight into the arms of Captain Drake LeVeq.

As an architect from an old New Orleans family, Drake has a deeply personal interest in rebuilding the city. Raised by strong women, he recognizes Valinda’s determination. And he can’t stop admiring—or wanting—her. But when Valinda’s father demands she return home to marry a man she doesn’t love, her daring rebellion draws Drake into an irresistible intrigue.

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