This was hands-down one of the best romances I have ever read, and I think I was actually beaming with joy for the young couple at the end! Quinton is an English doctor and traveler who has made his way across many parts of the world, both wild and domesticated. After visiting parts of the post-Colonial American South, his stomach is turned by the unmentionable practices being carried on there and he decides to settle much further north in a modest country village. By forces that can only be described as providence, he is given a most unsual gift that he accepts only because of the deplorable condition she is presented to him in. Once Suga (Sarah), a mixed ancestry slave girl, enters his life, he quickly becomes captivated with her in many ways that go far beyond her extraordinary beauty and grace. While Suga fills a void that Quinton never knew existed in his life, Quinton becomes her loving guardian and protector from a world - even a "free" society - that seems to have only one use for her.
Their love story becomes a grand adventure that was so exciting and thrilling that I read this in ONE DAY - I could not put it down. Admittedly, there were scenes that made my eyes pop, but there were many more moments of absolute heart-pounding confessions and displays of adoration by Quinton and Sarah, each for the other, that far outweighed anything else. The best parts of this unique tale were experiencing Quinton grow from a confirmed bachelor to a dedicated tutor and fierce protector and finally to a doting husband. And watching Sarah rise from a slave, to a fancy, to a wonderful nurse/healer, and finally becoming the much-admired and desired lady of a vast manor and estate was breathtaking! The stunning pair was inseparable from beginning to end, with Quinton refusing to allow Suga/Sarah to be treated as or to even think that she is less than anything but a beautiful and an intelligent woman - and, more importantly, the love of his life and wife - and Sarah stealing the hearts of all that she encounters, most especially Quinton, with her kind, gentle, and sometimes very determined ways.
I wish I could say more but that would ruin the thrilling surprises that lay in between. As a woman of color who was born in the latter part of the late twentieth century, I was nervous about reading this, but I am SO GLAD that I did! GRADE A+. Officially added to my "READ AGAIN" favorites list.