GROUND SWEET AS SUGAR: THE COMPLETE STORY
Ground Sweet As Sugar
by Catherine C. Heywood
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 21 Sep 2021 | Archive Date 17 Sep 2021
This must-have collector’s edition includes Ground Sweet as Sugar and The Virtues of Vice, the alternate-ending novella, Into the Complete Unknown, and Catherine C. Heywood’s research notes on “Building the World of Seven Stars.”
1797: After a century of clarifying oppression, Ireland seethes on the brink of rebellion. It waits on one violent tremor—the execution of a seventeen-year-old girl. All Charlotte Dillon wants is to escape. When she slips her fate, she discovers her future lies in the hands of James Blair, a sugar planter with deep ties to her enemies.
Bound to James for seven years, Charlotte must find a way to conceal her true identity and crime, even as they set sail for the West Indies, even as they confront the limits of their endurance, even as they fall in love.
Meanwhile, an ocean away, a rebellion is unfolding and a mystery unraveling that threaten the tenderness growing between them. Through harrowing battles and the ache of longing, James and Charlotte must face devastating reckonings to finally know the sweetness they’ve earned.
Sweeping from Ireland’s bleeding battlefields to St. Croix’s burning sugarcane fields, Ground Sweet as Sugar: The Complete Story is the entire saga of power, punishment, and undying love.
Average rating from 4 members
I was effortlessly transported back to the land of my birth and childhood in Catherine Heywood’s epic coming-of-age saga, Ground Sweet As Sugar: The Complete Story. Set against a backdrop of countries in revolt, the worlds of 17-year-old Catholic, Charlotte Dillon, and a Protestant sugar planter, James Blair, clash on an 18th-century sugarcane plantation in the Caribbean. Spanning five years and set in Dublin, Ireland, St. Croix, West Indies, and Montmartre, France, this unforgettable historical fiction novel explores Charlotte’s journey from death row to Seven Stars, a sugarcane plantation, and onwards to ‘freedom.’ James Blair doesn’t use slaves to work his cane, instead, he indentures convicts from Ireland’s jails. Charlotte has been plucked from her dire situation holding a secret. Her true identity is hidden from the man who now owns her – a man with ties to her enemies and her heart. You’ll read about Charlotte’s journey and discover that to some she’s a pawn and to others, she’s most precious. This character-driven tale features a dynamic protagonist who drives the story. I didn’t have to flip too many pages to know that what Charlotte wants more than anything and what she fears more than anything. I love how the author set this up because I could sit back and watch how those wants and fears then built tension and propelled the story. Each character is a passenger on a journey and is introduced in a compelling way so that readers are invested in their growth. Charlotte is a victim of good intentions in a bad situation, and this adds a third dimension to her character. She continually makes questionable choices and this, with her flaws, makes her authentic. I think Charlotte is one of my favourite historical fiction characters ever! Tension is created two ways in this novel. Firstly, in order to save her life, Charlotte needs to keep a secret, but she struggles with holding her tongue. Secondly, who Charlotte is and who she believes herself to be, are two different people. The author masterfully uses these two opportunities to ramp up the nail-biting conflict. I appreciated how Heywood didn’t reveal Charlotte's backstory all at once because the anticipation of it propelled me to keep reading. The diction was phenomenal! Heywood included everything from Irish slang to Caribbean creole and even a character who begins in Creole English and then slips into French when she gets angry! My only complaint is that I felt uncomfortable with the language and intimacy level. I knew the setting and circumstances going into this saga, so any unease felt was my own doing. If open door romance doesn’t bother you, this is a fantastic and compelling read. This saga of power, punishment and undying love is worthy of your investment. As I turned over page 1029, I couldn’t believe it was over. It truly is a worthy read. It’s like getting up from the table after Christmas dinner – full but completely satisfied. This collector’s edition includes ‘Ground Sweet as Sugar’, ‘The Virtues of Vice’, ‘Into the Complete Unknown’ (an alternate ending) and Heywood’s extensive research notes. Publishes September 21, 2021. I was gifted this advance copy by Catherine Heywood, Victory Editing, and NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.