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Honor Bright is a young Quaker woman who, in 1850, leaves her home and family in Dorset to sail to America. Jilted by her fiancé, she is accompanying her sister Grace who is on her way to marry an émigré, but when Grace takes ill and dies en route, Honor’s future is uncertain. Unable to return to England, Honor has no choice but to travel on to Ohio as planned. Here she encounters runaway slaves heading north to find sanctuary in Canada; here also, are members of the Underground Railroad, a network that helps and harbours the fugitives, and slave hunters on their trail. Drawn to assist the runaways, Honor acts according to her conscience and beliefs, but this will jeopardise the fragile happiness she has found.
Full of fascinating social history, its easy, understated style befitting its self-possessed Quaker heroine, this well-rounded novel is a great pleasure to read.
HarperCollins 352pp Hb. FDH217 £14.99
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