Salting Roses doesn't have the mint juleps and colonnaded mansions, more like dungarees and bungalows but it does have a spunky tomboy heroine, Gracie, who is surrounded by some of the most loving and wonderful family a woman could ever hope to be raised by no matter what the reality of blood might say. Because Gracie is not in fact who she thinks she is. On her twenty-fifth birthday, Gracie discovers that she is in fact Katherine Hammond, the kidnapped heiress to a fortune. She had been left on the porch of her Uncle Ben's house and raised by her Aunt Alice, Uncle Ben, and Uncle Artie as if she was the abandonned daughter of their disappeared niece Rita. While she was raised with love and caring, Gracie also never quite overcame the small town stigma of being Rita's illegitimate child. She suffered at the hands of the wealthier kids in town and so it is with this knowledge of money's ability to corrupt people that she is adamant that she not have to inherit her father's appallingly large fortune. But Sam, the man who was sent by her deceased father and still living, rather starchy grandmother to convince her to accept the bequest, will do everything in his power to get her to see that her reservations are without merit and that her character can handle the corrupting influence of so much money. It doesn't hurt that there is an immediate and strong attraction between Sam and Gracie as this very Southern Cinderella tale plays out.
This is very definitely a romance with Sam and Gracie's antagonistic attraction being a major plot line in the novel. But there's a strong theme of identity running through the story as well. Gracie is thrown for a loop when she discovers her identity as the kidnapped baby daughter of such a wealthy family. And she fights that knowledge, thinking that it will change who she is entirely without respect to the person her aunt and uncles' loving and caring upbringing helped to create. As she examines what her new fortune means to who she is, she also discovers that the people around her are not necessarily who they have always seemed either, keeping secrets, hiding wells of strength, and remaining the same constant people she needs despite who each of these other characters truly are under their skin.
The story reads as light and charming and the tension between Sam and Gracie is well done. There are aspects of the story that are far-fetched but what Cinderella story isn't fanciful? The pacing speeds up a bit towards the end with resolutions coming a bit fast and furiously but most of the resolutions are completely earned and fit with the basic outline of the rags to riches plot line. Over all, this was a quick and delightful read that can be read as superficially frothy or examined on a slightly deeper level for questions of identity, the power of wealth, and the need to be comfortable in your own skin in order to live a happy life.
For more information about Lorelle Marinello and the book, be sure to visit her website.
Thanks to Trish from TLC Book Tours for arranging the blog tour and having a copy of the book sent to me for review.