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Saturday, February 20, 2016

A Treasure of Gold by Piper Huguley

Published: November 2015
Character diversity?: African-American main couple
Rating: 4 stars
Available @ Amazon:

This is the third book in Migrations of the Heart series, which centers around an African-American family from a town called Winslow in Georgia. Unlike previous books in the series, A Treasure of Gold takes place entirely in Pittsburgh, giving the story a fresh sense of place. As always, Piper Huguley's writing is powerfully beautiful and intriguing as it transports me back in time.

What it's about
A Treasure of Gold takes place in 1923 and tells the story of Nettie Bledsoe. Nettie is the younger sister of Ruby and Mags from A Virtuous Ruby and A Most Precious Pearl. She's the middle child in the Bledsoe family and is very spiritual. She's spent some time traveling with an elderly couple who hold Revivals in various communities (they played a part in both Ruby and Mags story), and is now staying with her sister Ruby and her doctor husband Adam. While sneaking out to get an early start at the charity soup kitchen, Nettie encounters a wounded man and takes him to her brother-in-law for help. There she discovers he's the single father of a little girl and that he's notorious for being a “policy man.” She believes God has crossed their paths and that she's meant to help him and his daughter; unfortunately, this creates problems for Nettie in the form of her family who disapproves of their association, the town's bias, and their mutual attraction for one another.

What I liked
One of the things that I enjoy the most about this series is the tone, atmosphere, and sense of time. In fact, it reflects the time period so beautifully that it is easy to immerse yourself in the story.

-I really liked the character of Nettie who was very strong and stands by her convictions and beliefs. She only allows her sisters to bully her so far, which was to be expected considering the time period and notions of what was and was not considered proper. Nettie is also plagued by problems from her childhood that have led her to believe her prospects for the future are limited. The attraction between her and Jay was slow simmering, but undeniable. This isn't a book about over-the-top lust, but it is about a very believable love.

-Jay was the complete opposite of Nettie. She was country to his city, and had an abundance of faith while he'd lost his years ago. I liked the fact that although his feelings ranged from initial fear (I won't spoil it by saying why) to attraction and then love, Nettie ultimately embodied everything that he wanted. I also loved the fact that he wasn't exactly as bad as everyone would have Nettie believe, and that many of the people in town were hypocrites. Ms. Huguley painted a very realistic picture.

-I can't fail to mention Jay's daughter, Goldie. She's a little girl who's very smart and modern (for the times) in many ways, who desires a mother. She latches onto Nettie and really you can't help but love her and want them to become a family.

What I didn't really care for
The members of her family were a little too bossy and controlling in my opinion, especially Ruby and Adam. Ruby is still the spitfire that she's always been, but her controlling behavior towards Nettie was annoying (especially if you consider how rebellious and independent minded her character normally is). Both she and Adam came across a little snooty and unlikable at times which was a shame considering how much I liked them in the past. I understand that there was a need for propriety and that Jay was consider little more than a hoodlum, but the way her family treated her in general was just annoying.

Final thoughts
I really loved the first two books in this series and I'm happy to say that A Treasure of Gold doesn't disappoint. The characters and the story itself will draw you in and keep your interest from the first to the final page. I did feel it lacked some of the intensity in the previous two books (A Most Precious Pearl being my favorite) in which the stakes felt much higher. That said, A Treasure of Gold does manage to stand on its own and is a 4 out of 5 star read. 

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