Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Quaker And The Rebel-Mary Ellis

The Quaker And The Rebel Mary Ellis Harvest House, Jan 1 2014, $13.99 ISBN 9780736950503 In 1861 on Virginia’s Bennington Island in the Ohio River, Dr. Porter and Mrs. Augusta Bennington hire Quaker Emily Harrison as a governess to their two daughters. Emily explains to Augusta that she is engaged and as soon as her fiancé returns from DC, she will marry him in Marietta. The governess also declares she adamantly opposes slavery though concealing from her slave-owning employer that her late parents worked the Underground Railroad. Not upset with the brazen woman, Augusta replies that she, her sister and her nephew Alexander Hunt are Quakers too. Emily struggles between loyalty to the Bennington family and a need to help runaway slaves. She also is attracted to slave owner Alexander in spite of his lackadaisical uncaring nature; refusing to take a side in the conflict. Alexander reciprocates her feelings but hides from Emily that he is “the Gray Wraith” trying to help slaves without using a gun. The first Civil War Heroines’ romance is an exciting historical starring two protagonists driven by their Quaker faith to assist runaway slaves. Though transitions are choppy, Alexander and Emily cleverly change due to the horrors they witness. Vividly written, readers will appreciate the insight into Quakerism during the battle of Middleburg, the blockade of Richmond, the courageous efforts of the Underground Railroad and the secession of West Virginia (from Virginia) providing a strong backdrop to a fabulous War Between The States drama. Harriet Klausner

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