This romance collection includes nine novellas which each focus on the Underground Railroad. The settings are diverse and range from 1840 to 1860, including states in both the North and the South. Something that I really enjoyed and found particularly interesting was that the characters represented such a distinct breadth; in some cases they were abolitionists, as expected, but some were free blacks or even slaves themselves. Because the stories were so short, the climax and denouement occurred quickly, somewhat curtailing the suspense, which is my only grievance. It would have been exciting to see each tale as a novel-length work or even to have them all woven together into a single narrative.
Despite the obviously somber backdrop, none of the stories include graphic details, and they are all clean. The gravity of the risks that those helping the freedom seekers took is one of the driving themes, and it also parallels that of the apostles and the early Christian church. The position that lawmen found themselves in, forced to uphold unjust laws regardless of their personal beliefs, was an aspect that I had never really considered before. Strong female protagonists throughout the stories demonstrated that they were just as involved as the men, even if they at first stumbled upon the underground railroad’s workings unintentionally, as was the case in two of my favorites: “Follow the Christmas Star” and “The Winter Quilt.” This collection will appeal to anyone looking for an inspirational read that provides shining examples of faith under fire that are certainly pertinent in today’s increasingly secular society.
Thanks to NetGalley for providing an e-copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.