Eden was innocent before the snake. And Mary Eden Stanhope, descendant of a noble and romantic English family, was innocent before she came to the Stanhope mansion in the post-Civil War South...before her husband, disgusted by the lingering hatred, brought a black man into his home, while neighbors cursed the Stanhope name...before the hooded men on horseback came to leaveEden was innocent before the snake. And Mary Eden Stanhope, descendant of a noble and romantic English family, was innocent before she came to the Stanhope mansion in the post-Civil War South...before her husband, disgusted by the lingering hatred, brought a black man into his home, while neighbors cursed the Stanhope name...before the hooded men on horseback came to leave a silent warning...and before her daughter Eve has kidnapped and raped on her wedding night, and ruthlessly sold to the only bidder...Now, for the millions of loyal Eden fans, here, at last, is the sixth book in Marilyn Harris's bestselling series-and the first to be set in America. Tracing the history of the emerging nation through the colorful history of the Stanhopes, it triumphantly brings the passions and ideals of an extraordinary family to the Colonies.There is Burke, the father, who is too fierce and stubborn to bow to the hooded Knights of the White Camellia.Mary, the mother, whose love for her husband is tested for the first time when he puts his own pride before the family.Eve, the daughter, whose eyes are opened to exotic people and places as she travels with a troupe of actors across the untamed land.And Stephen, Eve's fiance, who must prove himself worth to the Stanhopes by risking his own life to save their daughter's.With its turbulence and tragedy, romance and adventure, drawn from the timeless legends of the South, AMERICAN EDEN is a tale of power, position, and desires of the heart that readers will not soon forget....
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American Eden Reviews
Can you say disappointed? Don't get me wrong, this book would have been 4 stars easily, had it been written by someone else. It's a sweeping historical romance of an evil that threatens a family and whisks away the eldest daughter, who is then thrown to the wolves to fend for herself in the big, bad world. After suffering through sickness and rape and psychotic cattle barons and rough cowhands and more, she comes out on top and gains fame and fortune and her man by the final page. Happiness all around. It's Romance Formula 101, but it often works.However, it ain't Marilyn Harris. After 5 books in the Eden saga where confined settings and the characters' own worst demons wreak havoc on each other, to get something so...so....average is like a dash of cold water in the face.That said, there were some of Harris' strengths on display. The entire first half was a bit tamer version of the Eden dysfunction. There were eccentric characters (Burke's sister Sis Liz & her mulatto companion White Doll), the effect of socio-historical pressures on the fictional characters (Burke Stanhope's very unpopular support of Booker T. Washington and elevating a black into a white man's job on his plantation), and the always-present stresses and resentments that exist within a family. When we left Burke and Mary in The Women of Eden, he was an ideal guy, but over the course of 14 years, he has changed and refused to let the hate for John Murrey Eden subside. The appearance of Stephen Eden (JME's son) makes Burke wig out and puts Mary in the horrible position of remembering what she suffered at JME's hands while trying to not hold the son accountable for the deeds of the father. Also, Harris brought in historical characters - Booker T. and Mark Twain - and had some interesting scenes that discussed the contemporary view of race relations and desegregation.The biggest weakness was the heroine, Eve. At first she was quite a character study and had potential. Since her father is persona non grata, she has had no outside social interaction. The arrival of Stephen Eden shows her what she's been missing, but her dad's vendetta against all things John Murrey Eden makes a romance impossible. I'd have much preferred it if the action had remained confined to Alabama while all these tortured and screwed-up characters thrashed it - and each other - all out.But alas, Eve is abducted by the oily preacher Orlando Dow (a character whose potential was utterly wasted) and then shuffled off onto the hands of seedy traveling impresario Yorrick Harp, who is an autocratic father figure to his all-girl troupe. For the last half of the book, Eve is carted about the country, gradually developing a fondness for performing (she can sing like an angel) and her bloviating, good-natured jailer Harp. She is courted by a cattle baron who collects ears and nutsacks from criminals and unruly minions, and nurses the troupe through a fatal bout of typhus (or something). Lots of weirdness. I should have loved it.But Eve is perfect. Perfectly beautiful, perfectly talented, perfect perfect perfect. She enchants everyone who looks at her perfect beauty and hears her perfect angelic voice. Blech. You get the idea.All the while Eve is perfectly suffering on her unplanned road trip, Stephen is one step behind her or accidentally ahead of her as their paths persistently miss each other through coincidence and contrivance. During this part, Stephen became a very dull character, and the scenes with him and companion Paris did little to add to the story beyond illustrate life in the Jim Crow South (Paris is black). The story also had random scenes back at Stanhope Hall where Burke and Mary fret and worry. They had absolutely no point. So much of the last half was aimless, pointless or repetitious. I can only believe that Marilyn got a call from her agent, saying, "Hey, it's been 5 years since the last Eden book. Those are the ones that sell, so get on it." And Marilyn took a look at how romance was currently trending and cranked one out.I'm taking a break from the Eden series before picking up the last book. I'm hoping that Eve and Stephen's story is given enough exposition in that one so that I can recommend it's possible to skip this installment without losing a thing.Mediocre and average and very unworthy of the Eden name. 4 stars for the first half, 2 for the last.
American Eden is the sixth book in a seven book series, and begins in 1889. At the end of book four, American Eden, Mary and her husband Burke left England behind and returned to his family home near Mobile Alabama (we didn't hear much about them in book five). Fate has blessed them with three beautiful children, but Burke's Northern sympathies do not endear him to the Southern populace and he's under fire from The Knights of the White Camellia, and their first strike at Burke is a deadly one.Into this steamy little cauldron of tension comes John Murrey's eldest son Stephen, who is on his way to Montana to investigate the dealings of a cattle operation his uncle Lord Richard invested in. At his family's request, Stephen stops by Stanhope Hall and gets one look at young Eve and she's the girl for him. Those who have read Women of Eden know that Stephen's father did some seriously nasty things to sister Mary, and neither she or Burke (especially Burke) are in a forgiving mood, John being reformed or not. Stephen's strong resemblance to his father doesn't exactly help matters and Burke's greeting is not exactly a welcoming one. To make an overly long story short (red pencil guy, where are you?), the evil Knights strike again and Eve is caught in the crossfire and eventually ends up in a travelling show headed west with Stephen in hot pursuit - although he's always a day late and a dollar short of finding Eve. Over and over and over and over and over again. The *adventures* Eve has are mind numbingly silly, even charming a group of savage Indians bent on abduction and rape by singing Jenny Crack Corn (no, I am not kidding). Stops along the way include Dodge City (including Bat Masterson), Denver (a brief meeting with Horace Tabor and wife Baby Doe), Leadville (how a sea level person can drink that much whiskey at that altitude and not be dead is beyond me...), and on into San Francisco. The first five books in this series have been beyond awesome. Murder, madness and mayhem and more, all wonderfully colored with bits of real history and historical characters. There were bad people and good people, but everyone had shades of gray - no one, but no one was perfect - so I was rather surprised to find this merely an average run of the mill historical romance. Eve was perfection personified, the ultimate Mary Sue. Stephen was handsome as could be, loving and true and a knight in shining armor ready to rescue his damsel in distress. You would have thought with his family background he'd have some psychological screws loose somewhere but no...What happened? Was Harris busy elsewhere and someone ghost wrote it? Phoned it in? Did the changes in romances from the 70's to the 80's dictate something lighter and fluffier? Did the reading public demand another Eden novel and her heart just wasn't in it anymore? Inquiring minds want to know, and if someone does please comment, I'd love to have an answer to this one. Despite my disappointment in this I do recommend the first five books highly and plan on finishing off with book seven, Eden and Honor. The series,This Other Eden The Prince of Eden The Eden Passion The Women of Eden Eden Rising American Eden Eden and Honor
I am so glad that Marilyn Harris is dead, because I would have killed her myself.
It is sad that this book was published! Hundreds of pages without pleasure. One more remaining hopefully we come to a closure!
The entire series (7) is a great look at way things were in these period pieces starting in 1890 and ending with WWW I. Takes place mostly in England and a little in India and America.
OK, Karla liked this less than the previous ones, and I actually liked it a little better. Formula? Maybe a little--but only a little (I sure didn't see much of the story coming--the creepy guy with the scrotum collection, for example). I found myself dreading picking up each of the last few books in the series, because I had no faith in Harris to deliver anything but more hopelessness and pointlessness and misery. This time, no matter how many horrors Harris visited on the characters, there was some actual hope that carried them through. I need that. I don't need everything tied in a tidy bow, but I don't read books to walk away angry and depressed. If I want to feel that I just have to look around. I read books to get away from that crap, escape into a world where there is a POINT to things and I don't feel like the author just lived to make others miserable That said, there were a few villains in this piece that I felt should have faced better (or some) consequences for their actions. (view spoiler)[ I would have liked to see Eve confront Higgins and the rest of the knights and tell her story to someone who could bring justice. I would have liked to see Yorrick get kicked in the nuts for branding and shackling her, even if he did repent. At least John had to face the consequences of his actions. Oh, and I really, really wanted to slap the heroine silly for not telegraphing her family the first chance she got. What was up with that? How self-centered could she be? (hide spoiler)]Anyway, so I'm glad I read this one, and I'll read the last one. So far the only one I actually recommend, though, is the first in the series.
It wasn't that great and it took me forever to finish it! By the way, where can I find me one of those scrotum pouches....eww. The first few books in this series were really good. Maybe it has just lost its dazzle for me.
I love this shot, and own this novel. Very sexy and wonderful pull out cover.