I really enjoyed this historical fiction novel that was set in Ohio in the 1850’s, just prior to the Civil War. This time in the history of America was a volatile one, especially with the passing of the Fugitive Slave Act which made aiding and abetting a runaway slave subject to huge fines and imprisonment.
I enjoyed reading about Quakers, their beliefs, their motivations, and the adjustments that Honor, the main character in this novel, struggles with in her new home after emigrating from England. The descriptions of American frontier food, farming, plants and wildlife and customs made the story very real. Because I am also a quilter, I enjoyed reading about Honor’s proficiency with her needle and the comfort and security it gave her in planning and assembling her quilts.
The underlying story of the Underground Railroad and how it worked was also very interesting, and this was a fast read for me!
“Honor waited for a quarter-hour beyond the last hoofbeat of his horse before easing back into the straw and flexing her cramped legs. ‘All right,” she said. “He has gone.”
Still the black woman did not move.
“I have never heard another be so quiet,” Honor admitted. “Thee would do well as a Quaker.”
At last she heard something: the sound of a smile.
When they were back outside, Honor whispered, “Does thee know where to go?”
Still wordless, the woman pointed up at a star in the northern sky: the pole star. Samuel had explained to her once that everything in the night sky turned around that one unassuming star, and because it did not move, you could follow it. It always astonished her that in a sky full of movement, there could be one fixed point.”
The ending really disappointed me though and so, rather than 4 stars I give it a 3.5, since the events in the final chapter affected so much of the story-line and the main characters.