Fairer than Morning by Rosslyn Elliott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Ann dreams of a marriage proposal from her poetic suitor-until she meets a runaway apprentice who knows what a truly noble man is.
In 1826, Ann Miller travels to Pittsburgh with her widowed father and two young sisters, only to find that a mysterious man has pursued them all the way from Ohio. Is Ann's father just a circuit minister, or is he hiding something that may endanger them all?
Will Hanby indentures with a Pittsburgh saddler maker, only to discover that his master is a cold-hearted tyrant. After years of abuse, Will becomes a prisoner of his own mind. But then lovely Ann Miller comes to stay next door and her compassion lights a long-dark part of Will's soul. His renewed courage puts his life in jeopardy as he begins to assist fugitive slaves.
Will's murderous master and Ann's questions about her family may keep both of them bound in the shadows forever. Or will they find freedom-together?
This is a debut romance from Rosslyn Elliott and the first in a series. The story begins in the early 1820's in the area where Ohio and Pennsylvania meet. It follows a young girl growing up on her father's farm paralleled by the life of a young man who is an indentured apprentice to a saddler near Pittsburgh. The girl's father is also a saddler by trade as well as a circuit minister. There's plenty of history woven through this tale including the beginnings of the Underground Railroad. It is labeled a "romance" but there is substance here. Faith in God in very trying times comes through and the conversion of the young man is very uplifting. I would recommend this novel to any historical fiction fan -- the characters are real people as indicated in the Afterword. Don't be put off by the "romance" genre, there's plenty of action and adventure and, in my opinion, it is very well-written.
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