The Secret Life of Winnie Cox by Sharon Maas book review

The Secret Life of Winnie Cox by Sharon Maas, publisher Bookouture is available in ebook format from TOMORROW 1st October 2015.

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Product Details (as per Amazon page)

Winnie Cox lives a privileged life of dances and dresses on her father’s sugar cane plantation. Life is sweet in the kingdom of sugar and Winnie along with her sister Johanna, have neither worries nor responsibilities, they are birds of paradise, protected from the poverty in the world around them. 

But everything can change in a heartbeat… 
When Winnie falls in love with George Quint, the post-office boy, a ‘darkie’ from the other side, she soon finds herself slipping into a double life. And as she withdraws from her family, she discovers a shocking secret about those whom are closest to her. Now, more than ever, Winnie is determined to prove her love for George, whatever price she must pay and however tragic the consequences might be. 
A breath-taking love story of two people fighting to be together, in a world determined to break them apart. 

I’d like to thank the publishers and netgalley for an arc in return for an honest review.

A mesmerising, thought provoking story set in two time frames. It’s the late 19th century and we witness the love blossoming for Archie and Ruth, how they journeyed through countries to be together. We then move forward to 1910 to British Guiana where we capture Winnie’s story. Winnie is a young woman of 16 enjoying a carefree life as one of the daughters to Archie and Ruth Cox, owners of a Sugar Plantation in South America. Most of Winnie’s life has been protected from the harsh realities of life in 1910 on a working plantation surrounded and looked after by staff in her luxurious home. It’s not until Winnie and her sister, Yoyo, visit an old staff member in the worker’s area that they truly witness the poverty that the workers of the plantation are living in. The sisters vow to help the coolies but this visit has caused outrage with the coolies and violence is soon brought close to home.

Winnie and Yoyo are devastated by what they see and hear of the behaviour towards the coolies and they cannot understand why their own father, amongst others, would act this way.
A newcomer to the area sparks an interest in Winnie and she begins to question her emotions regarding this young man. This new friendship could bring so much turmoil for Winnie and her family as back in 1910 white girls from a wealthy family were expected to court and marry someone from a similar background, someone who could support his new wife and continue with the family business, not a young coloured gentleman with a head full of dreams.
Winnie discovers and witnesses more shocking and terrible things about her father and is left in such a quandary of what to do next.
We learn so much about the history of Archie and Ruth’s bond and how this has affected relationships with Archie and his daughters and his workers on the plantation.
This is a beautiful, mesmerising work of fiction that makes you think about the past and the history of slavery. It also makes you appreciate that you can’t fight the feelings of love between two people.
I am really looking forward to finding out what happens next for Winnie and her sisters, will the plantation survive and will relationships change between owners and workers? Will love find a way for Winnie and George? Will Ruth, Winnie’s mother, return to BG and take up her place as owner of the sugar plant? 
I loved Sharon Maas’ writing style, I was completely transported to both timeframes and I could feel the emotions whether fraught with concern or enveloped in love that were emitted from the words on the pages. Sharon Maas is an author to look out for with regards to historical, romantic fiction.  A mesmerising, thought provoking romance that leaves you intrigued for more – 4/5*.
To find out more about Sharon Maas and her books please visit the following links: