As an avid reader of historical fiction, I really love it when an author pulls me into a story that feels real.

Beth White’s recently released “A Rebel Heart” is one such story.

It centers on Selah Daughtry, a Southern belle who is trying to keep her family together after the end of the Civil War.

When she meets Levi Riggins, he claims to be a hotel management agent and convinces Selah to convert the plantation into a hotel.

But Levi actually is a Pinkerton detective who is undercover, investigating a crime happening right under their noses.

One of the things I enjoyed most about this novel was benefiting from the fantastic amount of historical research the author obviously did.

She weaves facts — including some lesser-known slices of American history — into the tale in such a wonderfully organic way that it feels completely real.

White also deals with the reality of the history of the Civil War truthfully, without ever feeling heavy handed or as if she is trying to make the characters have overly modern thoughts that would be unrealistic.

I enjoyed reading about Selah and watching her recover from the tragedies that had happened in her life. Levi is her perfect match throughout.

White did a marvelous job of holding just enough mystery back to keep me turning the pages while never making me feel she didn’t play fair.

Themes of forgiveness are woven throughout the novel and it truly will tug on your heartstrings, but never feel too heavy.

Overall, this was a highly enjoyable novel written by a woman who knows what she is doing. I can’t wait to read the next novel in the series.