Years and years ago (and by years and years ago, I mean back when the Pink Carnation series was in single digits, back before I wrote stand alone novels, back before I had children– actually, so far back, I wasn’t even married yet), I went on a plantation tour in the Caribbean and heard a story that haunted me, a story about a child passed off as the “Portuguese ward” of the plantation owner, a child separated from her mother, a child who died in a fire.

I kept coming back to this story, again and again, until finally, a decade later, my agent said, “Stop talking about it and just write it already!”

So I did.  It took years of research, more than I ever wanted to know about cholera, and a great deal of agonizing over, well, everything, but the Barbados book is finally done, and I’m terribly proud of it.

And now it has a cover!

Is it just me, or does this cover make you think of M.M. Kaye and The Thorn Birds and old school epics?

Here’s the official description:

The New York Times bestselling historical novelist delivers her biggest, boldest, and most ambitious novel yet—a sweeping, dramatic Victorian epic of lost love, lies, jealousy, and rebellion set in colonial Barbados.

1854. From Bristol to Barbados. . . . Emily Dawson has always been the poor cousin in a prosperous merchant clan—merely a vicar’s daughter, and a reform-minded vicar’s daughter, at that. Everyone knows that the family’s lucrative shipping business will go to her cousin, Adam, one day. But when her grandfather dies, Emily receives an unexpected inheiritance: Peverills, a sugar plantation in Barbados—a plantation her grandfather never told anyone he owned.

When Emily accompanies her cousin and his new wife to Barbados, she finds Peverills a burnt-out shell, reduced to ruins in 1816, when a rising of enslaved people sent the island up in flames. Rumors swirl around the derelict plantation; people whisper of ghosts.

Why would her practical-minded grandfather leave her a property in ruins?  Why are the neighboring plantation owners, the Davenants, so eager to acquire Peverills—so eager that they invite Emily and her cousins to stay with them indefinitely? Emily finds herself bewitched by the tropical beauty of the island even as she’s drawn into the personalities and politics of forty years before: a tangled history of clandestine love, heartbreaking betrayal, and a bold bid for freedom.

When family secrets begin to unravel and the harsh truth of history becomes more and more plain, Emily must challenge everything she thought she knew about her family, their legacy . . . and herself.

The Summer Country is coming your way on May 21, 2019.  It’s available for pre-order at Amazon, B&N, Indiebound, and wherever else books are sold.

I can’t wait to share it with you!


  1. Christine on October 10, 2018 at 8:21 am

    Oh that sounds so awesome! And the cover is beautiful. Looking forward to this very much!

  2. Rachel Adrianna on October 10, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    What a treat for us to finally read the story you’ve carried with you for so long!

  3. Elizabeth (Miss Eliza) on October 10, 2018 at 6:23 pm

    Can. Not. Wait.

  4. Tara on October 11, 2018 at 4:39 am

    Great character name too, as epic as the title.

  5. Julie on October 11, 2018 at 8:01 pm

    Looks and sounds like an M.M. Kate epic novel! Excited!

  6. Céline on October 12, 2018 at 11:13 am

    oooooh!!! So excited about this one too!!!! ♥♥♥

    • Jodi on March 7, 2020 at 1:40 pm

      Would LOVE to read a sequel of this story! Well done!

      • Lauren Willig on March 7, 2020 at 1:45 pm

        Thank you!! I’m so happy you loved it!

      • Pam Groves on September 30, 2020 at 11:31 am

        Me too on the sequel…I wanted MORE! And you ended introducing so many new characters. So we’ll written, I experienced every emotion with these poignant characters. Please treat your readers to a sequel 🤞🏼

  7. Margriet on October 17, 2018 at 8:26 am

    Ooh! This sounds amazing, I am looking forward to the publication date! 😀 ♥

  8. Ilene Harris on June 16, 2019 at 1:12 pm

    So much good stuff to read, the cover is beautiful. I can’t wait until I read it.

  9. D. Miller on September 6, 2019 at 7:24 pm

    Is Jeanne Jenny????

  10. Susan Sheldon on October 27, 2019 at 7:42 pm

    This is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time-I would love to see a sequel with Laura and Charles as well as Emily and Nathaniel.! There could be lots of great plot conflict with the future of all of them.There’s also backstory that could be developed with Jonathan Fenty as well as Charles and Jeanne.
    Exploring slavery in Barbados and England , as opposed to the US South, provided ‘a fresh lens for me to think about slavery’s impact on individuals and families(black, white, and freed persons), especially as I’ve been pondering my own ancestors’ pasts with this issue.

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