What Passes as Love: A Novel

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Dahlia Holt is the fair-skinned daughter of an enslaved woman and the man who owns her. As just a little girl, she is brought into the family house, not to live alongside her half-sisters but to serve them. She finds little ways to rebel, and when the chance comes for her to escape, she takes it, making a new life for herself as Lily Dove and marrying an Englishman who sees in her only a young white woman with no protector other than him. Married life brings its own risks, however, and even as Lily Dove, she is still not safe from her past. When an old friend appears on her doorstep in chains, she can think of nothing else to do but try to help him, even if it puts her own safety in danger.

What Passes as Love is a tenderly written book, but at times the weighty subject matter was at odds with the lighter tone. I could never entirely tell whether Dahlia understood the consequences of her actions and took them regardless, or if she acted on impulse without considering what might come next. Aside from when I found myself wondering about that, the book was very engaging.

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Star Count 4/5
Format Trade
Page Count
Publisher Lake Union Publishing
Publish Date 01-Sep-2021
ISBN 9781542030601
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Issue October 2021
Category Historical Fiction