Lyn Cote writes deep books that challenge the readers' conceptions and misconceptions especially about history. Blessing is a widowed Quakeress who runs an underground railroad station and an orphanage, and she rescues the prostitutes who work the docks in Cincinnati. She is also a suffragette campaigning for women's rights. She goes to hear lectures by such incredible speakers as Sojourner Truth and Fredick Douglass. At one such meeting in Boston, she meets Gerard Ramsey who doesn't necessarily believe all that's being said at the meeting, but his encounter with Blessing leaves him intrigued, but Gerard doesn't know what to do about his intrigue.
Lyn has brought together the antebellum sentiments, the racial tensions, the women's rights movement, and the riots of the pre-war Cincinnati. She has pulled together a cohesive novel that takes family upheaval, overbearing characters, and untenable circumstances and meshes them together with a growing relationship of plain speaking and straightforward thinking. Blessing and Gerard come together in such a way that is so satisfying for the reader. Her major characters have such depth and personality that it is hard to dislike them. Her settings make the sights and sounds of pre-war Cincinnati more real and more believable. Her plot pacing is a bit slow, but if it moved faster, it would seem a bit rushed, so it is just right.
One of my favorite parts is when Blessing adopts a baby that was orphaned when his mother--a prostitute--died in childbirth. The prostitute's sister, also a prostitute, thanks Blessing for taking the baby and keeping him, giving him a better life than he would have otherwise had. Another good scene is Gerard coming to the orphanage and interacting with the children there.
Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a trip on the underground railroad.
My thanks to Tyndale House Publishers for allowing me to read and review this book. My only obligation was an honest review.