Willow Hendricks is now the Lady of Livingston. She manages this plantation with her father and best friend Whitney Barry. The two women continue her parents’ secret abolitionist mission. They use the family’s ships and estates to transport escaped slaves along the channels to freedom. Willow’s love for Bowden Armstrong is as strong as ever, but she is not ready to marry and have a family because of her attention to these noble pursuits. Torn by her love for him, can their bond survive his reluctance to support her efforts with the Underground Railroad?
Meanwhile, whispers among the quarters sing praises of a mysterious man in the swamps helping slaves escape. He is called the Guardian. They believe he will save them from brutal slave catchers and deliver them to the promised land. Masked bandits roam the countryside, but the Guardian and the criminals evade capture. A series of accidents and mysterious disappearances raise alarm throughout the region. Who can Willow and Whitney trust? One false move or slip could endanger the lives of everyone they love and bring ruin to the Livingston Plantation.
After reading book one – A Slave of the Shadows – I couldn’t wait to get started on this second book in the series.
As expected, Naomi Finley delivers more of the same high quality historical fiction in a story that is filled to the brim with heart and hope. The pain and horrors that the characters have to endure is offset by this hope and the knowledge that the forces of good are doing their damnedest to right these many, many wrongs.
Told from numerous viewpoints, the story will suck you in. Seeing the story develop from every angle is what gives it such depth and quality, added to which the author’s descriptive scene setting will make you feel you’re in the midst of everything. It’s truly an immersive read that kept me reading late into the night.
Since her father’s untimely death, Willow is now running the Livingston Plantation, and her desire to give all the slaves freedom has not waned. But with that not an option, she and her uncle (Ben) and best friend, Whitney continue to do whatever they can to help the slaves, particularly those being hunted. Of course, she has to keep up appearances, for to be caught aiding the slaves in any way would be a hanging offence. This double life, naturally, brings her face to face with all sorts of obstacles – some pleasantly surprise her, while others are horrendously shocking and life-changing.
There are mysteries galore in the story, particularly around the “Guardian” who is deemed the saviour of the slaves, and the “masked men” who are the complete opposite. A newcomer – in the form of Silas Anderton – brings drama and speculation to town, and his links to Willow’s past are horrifying and dangerous for her.
Yet, all this runs alongside several emotional storylines – some heartbreakingly sad (Mary Grace & Gray) and others heartwarmingly wonderful (Jimmy & Ruby).
The relationship between Willow and Bowden is on and off throughout until it really seems dead in the water. Willow and Ben grow closer as they reveal more secrets in her father’s journal. Of course, it goes without saying that Whitney and Willow are a tour de force, a formidable twosome, until the idea of marriage raises its head and challenges their bond. Mammy and Jimmy are two of the most beautiful souls you could ever care to meet, so full of love despite all that has befallen them. Indeed, every character plays a part in making this an epic tale of its time. It feels authentic in each and every detail (as I can neither verify nor deny how life was lived in those times, all I will say is that the story flows effortlessly and doesn’t shy away from the harsh horrors which makes for a well-rounded tale).
A third book is in the offing, but not planned until late 2020.
What will I do until then? 😦
I do know I’ll be waiting for it.