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Summary

A young woman pays a devastating price for freedom in this heartrending and breathtaking novel of the nineteenth-century South.

1850. I was six years old the day Lewis Holt came to take me away.

Born into slavery, Dahlia never knew her mother - or what happened to her. When Dahlia’s father, the owner of Vesterville plantation, takes her to work in his home as a servant, she’s desperately lonely. Forced to leave behind her best friend, Bo, she lives in a world between black and white, belonging to neither.

Ten years later, Dahlia meets Timothy Ross, an Englishman in need of a wife. Reinventing herself as Lily Dove, Dahlia allows Timothy to believe she’s white, with no family to speak of, and agrees to marry him. She knows the danger of being found out. She also knows she’ll never have this chance at freedom again.

Ensconced in the Ross mansion, Dahlia soon finds herself held captive in a different way - as the dutiful wife of a young man who has set his sights on a political future. But when Bo arrives on the estate in shackles, Dahlia decides to risk everything to save his life. With suspicions of her true identity growing and a bounty hunter not far behind, Dahlia must act fast or pay a devastating price.

©2021 by Trisha R. Thomas. (P)2021 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

Critic reviews

“Thomas’s (Un-nappily in Love, 2020) well-researched and compelling novel charts Dahlia’s complex journey of escape, reinvention, and self-acceptance. Fans of Alena Dillon and Lucinda Riley will be moved by this historical glimpse into a brutal time period. Not shying away from the cruelties of slavery, Thomas gives a voice to the enslaved by exploring the power of shared humanity and newfound courage.”Booklist

“The author really gets inside Dahlia’s head…She’s resourceful, a chance-taker who dreams and schemes until opportunities present themselves. It’s impossible not to root for her, however risky her actions.”Historical Novels Review 

“The scribe who sold us on living Nappily Ever After turns her talents to historical fiction.”Essence 

What listeners say about What Passes as Love

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Profile Image for Daisy
  • Daisy
  • 04-10-21

Could not finish

I didn't find this to be well written or believable in the least. Being from the South I am bothered by fake Southern accents and found that the narrator's voice didn't fit the characters at all.

I am turning this back in unfinished.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Pamela, Iowa
  • 19-09-21

Superb. Classic, Gone with the Wind. Movie Please

I’m at chapter 42, an hour or so to go. No idea how this will end at this point. So good, I don’t want it to end in just an hour!
The story can have points at being predictable, but only because the author gives clues in the name of the chapter. Must have purposely done this. So clever. Otherwise, much would be a surprise, and yet plenty of surprises anyway.
Everything: the quality of writing, the narration, the story, the history, are so flawless so far. Simply transfixing.

Finished: Redeeming, Sequel is possible if author saw fit. However, fine as a stand-alone novel, and ok for it stands complete enough.
However … So good, and still didn’t want it to end…could’ve listened to so much more of the story.

2 people found this helpful

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  • N. Turek
  • 15-09-21

Female narrator flawed

I don’t know how an audiobook gets published with the female narrator not paying attention to details. Several times, the wrong name was used for a character, which felt a lot like running into a wall. The overall experience was far less than I had hoped for. Okay-ish story, soured by the female narrator.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kym
  • 23-10-21

Unlikable characters

After making peace with the fake southern accents I was able to continue the audiobook.
To be honest none of the characters were likable not even the main female character who I really tried to like. Without giving anything away, I could not buy into the romantic relationship at the end between Dahlia and Bo. The entire story up until the last chapter or so totally painted those two characters as friends or siblings and definitely not romantic so I found that to be totally forced and unbelievable and did not add any value to the story.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Angela
  • 04-10-21

Freedom or Love

This is a story set just before the Civil War about the trials and tribulations of Dahlia, a light skinned slave that could pass as white. Dahlia’s story takes her through a journey from childhood slavery to adulthood as she tries to pass as a white woman and the lengths she will go to find freedom all while being hunted by bounty hunters. Dahlia realizes even though she may find ways to pass as a white woman, her search freedom is a lonely and loveless road.

This book is very descriptive in scene setting which allows the reader to become engrossed in each character. It’s a very pleasant read, yet reminds the reader of the horrors of slavery at the same time. Ms. Thomas had a good balance in her writing without whitewashing slavery. The conclusion of the book is left until the last pages which keeps your heart beating until the very last page.

1 person found this helpful

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  • adele kivel
  • 03-10-21

What passes as love

Very well done this is an historical fiction set in -1861 in the south . Great insight into the time period as well as a love story set over time . The author really draws you into the story , this is a page turner I recommend it highly

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  • J Wills
  • 21-09-21

For your listening pleasure

I could not stop listening, I highly recommend! The performance of the narrators really brought the story to life.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-06-22

Captivating

The story had me immediately. I found myself drawn back to it constantly until finished. The performance was very good.

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  • TerriG
  • 10-05-22

wonderful historical novel

loved this book describing the story of a young slave who is as white as her owner and what pre civil War Virginia was like

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  • Tiana Gregg
  • 08-05-22

Cliche and just no

Right away the voice of the female narrator was off-putting. With books where the voice does not match the character or has strange inflections, I always wonder if somebody owed someone else a favor, because how could the production manager not know that it was bad?! I struggled through about 20 minutes and I should have quit at 10. Audible needs to do a better job of reimbursing customers for poorly produced titles. I couldn't return it, which was a bummer!

If you want to read a well written book with a similar story line and excellent narration, listen to The Wedding Gift by Marlen Suyapa Bodden. If you run out of credits and are low and don't want to take a gamble, download the free library app Libby. All you need is a library card from your library. It's super easy to navigate and there are thousands of free books!

I rarely write reviews and listen to about 2 books a month, most of them in this genre, so please believe me when I say, save your precious credit and skip this one. Since Audible also keeps a strange algorithm which seems to push books based on their own agenda and not actually on books readers are interested in, if you need any book recommendations in historical fiction you can check out my Goodreads. I'm boring there, but my list is solid.