Now Face to Face
Karleen Koen

Three Rivers Press
Trade Paperback/721 pages
ISBN: 978-0-307-40608-8
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"Koen brings the characters to life through their flaws and hidden treachery."

Now Face to Face is a deeply moving novel. Barbara, a young noble woman, is plunged into debt after the tragic death of her husband and the crash of the stock market, which leaves her dependent upon her popularity with the court and her connections with the wealthy families of London. Her struggle to regain her sense of self in the rugged colony of Virginia gives her the opportunity to face undreamed of challenges. She learns to deal with the tremendous loss of her soul-child and young male servant, Hyacinthe, and the responsibility of a tobacco farm. Her path takes her on a journey of self-discovery from which she finds strength and resolve. During her absence, London is thrown into turmoil as the Scottish Pretender to the throne plots an invasion and his loyal subjects in the city are faced with exposure for their treasonous activities.

Koen brings the characters to life through their flaws and hidden treachery. Her style of writing lends itself well to the time period. The details bring 18th century England into the realm of modern day. Every aspect of the plot shows that she definitely did her homework. The scene that remains most vividly is the tragic kidnapping of Barbara’s young slave after he spies colonists plotting to smuggle tobacco and her drive to find and bring him home. Overall, this book is a page-turner and impossible to put down.

Reviewer: Shelby K. Cain