Friday, January 15, 2010

The Road to Devotion-Cameron Kent

Cameron Kent
Press 53, Nov 2009, $19.95
ISBN: 9780982576021

Two decades earlier, her mother died and now in 1860, thirty-four year old spinster Sarah Talton is burying her father, but cannot cry for him as she inherited or perhaps nurtured by him his iron determination to show no emotion. As the North Carolina dirt is paced on the coffin, she knows she must remain resolute for the sake of her twenty years old sister Rebecca who is hysterical but gets comfort from Dickens not Deuteronomy.

Near Winston, Sarah now runs the family farm and the slaves who work on it. To succeed as a farmer, Sarah must be even tougher than her hardened late dad as Civil War seems imminent, but still has to sell some acres and slaves. Landowner Braxton Smithwick covets Sarah, but when she meets Monsieur LeGare she finds herself in love though he does not speak anglais. When a bounty hunter dumps a battered runaway slave on Sarah, she takes the person in to heal them. Between these two people, Sarah begins to wonder about the truism of the lessons her father taught her re black skinned ignorant and the white man’s burden, which has been accentuated by neighbors she has known all her life who with hostility breaking out demand total obedience to the cause of the Confederacy.

This is a super historical that showcases the importance of constantly questioning one’s values as new experiences happen. The story line is fast-paced but driven by the powerful characters especially the siblings, their late dad, Braxton, LeGare and significantly Jacquerie the slave. Fans will relish this strong Civil War drama as the thirtyish Sarah learns the Road to Devotion is lined with “hope, grace, love and faith”.

Harriet Klausner

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