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Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite
Stefan’s Destiny by Rosemary Gard is set in Chicago in 1915, a novel with strong historical hints. Count Stefan Vladeslav waits while his wife is being fitted for a dress at Marshall Fields department store when he sees an art gallery. A sign announces paintings of women from New Orleans. When he steps in, he discovers the painting of Barbra, a woman he abandoned in Zagreb, Croatia. The artist confirms that Barbra is now a resident of New Orleans and even gives him the name of her street. The knowledge that Barbra is in New Orleans sets up prospects that Stefan never envisaged. He isn’t very happy with his wife, who doesn’t favor immigrant workers, and wants to be among his people. But can he still have Barbra?
This is an interesting story, a historical romance that starts with an absorbing mystery and quickly escalates into a powerful conflict, one that sets the protagonist on an emotionally challenging journey. I fell in love with the characters, especially Stefan, someone who wants to reconnect with his roots and the woman he once loved. There is intrigue as readers want to know what happened between Stefan and Barbra. The backstory is so beautifully and deftly written into the narrative that it doesn’t become a distraction from the main plot. Rosemary Gard uses it to create intrigue and suspense which are elements that keep readers focused on the story and the characters. In Stefan’s Destiny, the author demonstrates a unique skill in exploring the depths of the characters — they are emotionally and psychologically rich. A satisfying read, indeed.