From Publishers Weekly -
Set in antebellum Louisiana, this historical romance follows the fortunes of Mary McAlister, raised in a convent in Pennsylvania. When Mary's father dies, leaving his fortune to his unscrupulous second wife, 16-year-old Mary sets out for New Orleans to find her real mother's family. The naive girl soon falls into the clutches of New Orleans' most infamous madam. Mary escapes the brothel, virtue intact, but not before she is seen there by Valmont Saint-Brevin, a handsome Creole aristocrat. As Mary wanders the strange city, her path crosses that of her Aunt Celeste who, hoping to retain the inheritance left by Mary's mother, hides her identity from her niece. Mary perseveres through poverty, drudgery, a sham marriage and subsequent rape, voodoo and a yellow fever epidemic, the mesmerizing Saint-Brevin toying with her heart all the while. Ripley (Charleston includes potentially interesting historical detail, but it is all but obscured by the sorely abused conventions of the historical romance genre that dominate her story. As the coincidence-laden plot twists towards its predictable ending, its myriad stereotyped characters utter dialogue embarrassing enough to make Robert E. Lee blush in his grave.
Paperback: 486 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (June 1, 1988)