Book three of Bragg Saga is about the youngest of the Braggs. Rathe has been a mischief and a bundle of restless energy ever since he was a child. When he meets Grace O’Rourke, a tempestuous, opinionated, independent free-thinker, he was blown away by her courageous stance on a lot of things. Set at a time after the Emancipation Declaration was proclaimed, Grace has been fighting for the rights of the recently freed slaves; for their right to live and their education. She’s also fighting for the rights of women. She finds trouble everywhere and Rathe has been fortunate enough to be there to save her each time.
Their attraction for each other is severe but a romance between a philandering scoundrel and a head strong feminist was just not in the cards – especially if Grace does not believe in the sanctity of marriage. Good thing Rathe doesn’t either. Offering Grace to be his mistress seems to be the next logical choice, considering Grace has an ill mother back in New York and therefore could use some financial help. Rathe soon finds out that Grace would starve first before she accepts any help from a man.
This book tired me out. The never ending bickering and head butting between these two was exhausting. There’s much to be said for having an opinion – and trust me, they’re all good – but Grace’s aspiration to change the world had gotten her into a milieu of trouble. She tackled a lot of social issues head on that she most often didn’t think about consequences and how it would affect the people she took with her.
I love her independency at the time when women were objectified and left at home to mind the house and the kids. I love that she persistently fought for the slaves’ education but what she didn’t get was that, even if they were free it wouldn’t take changes in the law to get the people doing the right thing. There would always be KKKs and corrupt, racist officials who’d uphold their own laws. I think that’s what frustrated me more about her. She didn’t get that it would take more than one person to fully change America. She caused troubles and upheavals that at a first glance seemed futile. She constantly thought bad about Rathe; misjudged him, called him names and was so blind about what’s in front of her.
Her independence was contradictory as well. When push comes to shove, she’d rather worked at a place serving drinks dressed indecently rather than accept Rathe’s offer. I get that with she’d rather sacrifice her beliefs over her heart but when you’ve been spewing all those things about how wrong it was for men to frequent the same establishment she found herself employed at, it just didn’t make any sense. She was confusing and frankly, she lost a bit of her admirable character because of her stubbornness.
The history of women’s civil rights in America was tackled in good conscience. It’s just too bad Grace’s methods overshadowed what could’ve been a very enlightening story arch.