Kindred: An American Love Story
P. J. Dean
In Colonial New York, herbalist and free Black woman, Kindred Twain, and Cassian Harkness/Lelaheo of the Oneida Nation acknowledge their childhood bond has blossomed into love. But stalking their happiness are the Revolutionary War, a bitter man come to settle debts with their benefactor, and a young, British miss, determined to rise in society no matter the costs.
2015 winner of the best historical romance as chosen by the Swirl Awards.
An herbalist and free Black woman, Kindred Twain, and Lelaheo of the Oneida Nation have been inseparable since childhood. They have been raised together in the Mohawk River Valley on Twainhaven Farm, an idyllic refuge, run by their benefactor Dr. Douglas Twain during the Colonial era. The doctor had liberated Kindred, her grandmother, and another little boy named Joshua from slavery and certain death on a Maryland tobacco plantation and had brought the three North to freedom and his estate.
Lelaheo had initially been placed, by his well-intentioned family, with the seemingly kind Rev. Harkness for schooling to help him navigate the dominant White world. At the rector’s home, Lelaheo is renamed Cassian Harkness.
At the church school he also met Kindred. But their “schooling” soon morphed into mistreatment. A mistreatment whose results were witnessed one day by Dr. Twain. The children’s “schooling” abruptly ended that day with the doctor removing them from the church school and taking Lelaheo out of the abusive rector’s care permanently. From that day forward, the physician took on their schooling himself.
So, in growing up together, it comes as no surprise to anyone that Kindred’s and Lelaheo’s close childhood friendship grows into love as they attain adulthood. Declaring their love one night, they agree to wait to wed until after Lelaheo returns from completing his medical studies in Europe. However, they have no idea that the fledgling colonies will revolt against British tyranny, starting the Revolutionary War, or that peaceful Twainhaven will soon be thrown into chaos.
To add more havoc to the mix, an interloper has come to right a supposed wrong and the opportunistic, cunning sister of one of Lelaheo’s medical school friends sets her sights on a new life.