The Last Heiress, by Mary Ellis, is a novel based on the relationship between a British textile mill heiress, her American family, and a poor mercantile owner.
Amanda Dunn, heiress to Dunn Textiles in England, is persuaded by her ill father, George, to go to North Carolina. The Civil War has created problems for the employees at the mill and for the family; there are no longer any shipments of cotton available. He wants her to do everything within her power to start cotton flowing back to the mill before things become untenable. He also wants her to visit her twin sister, Abigail, and Abigail’s husband, Jackson.
Amanda, along with her maid, sets off for Wilmington. While there, she is appalled by slavery, in both North Carolina and her sister’s home.
Jackson has little tolerance for Amanda and her anti-slavery ways and is constantly trying to make her life miserable. He doesn’t see a difference between her maid and slaves though there are many real and glaring differences, were he to open his eyes.
Amanda meets a poor, local merchant who helps her navigate her way through a business dominated by males. After she falls in love with him, Jackson becomes even more inconsiderate by pointing out all the ways Nathaniel is unsuitable for her. He even arranges a dinner where his only purpose in mind is greatly embarrassing Nathaniel.
The story is interesting to read as each character struggles with the changes brought on by either out of control events or because of their beliefs and feelings.
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.