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3.0 out of 5 stars  Before the Civil War, there was Kansas…..

How interesting, I had no idea Kansas territory was such a hotbed over the slavery issue well before the Civil War. Raised in Brazil, Carrie Vinton recovers from a sickness that has swept over Rio de Janeiro and taken both her father and her fiancé, Dr. William Saylor. Finding herself pregnant (but wealthy), she is gulled into trusting William’s step-brother and agrees to marry him and return to Washington. She loses the baby on the voyage, but worse is yet to come as she discovers her husband and father in law (a powerful senator) are pro-slavery and plan to use her wealth to promote their agendas in Kansas Territory. Carrie discovers that William did not die and she abandons her husband in the hopes of finding her beloved in Kansas. Will she succeed? Can the two lovers survive as the pro slavery and abolitionist factions ignite the countryside? Will the evil Desmond be able to wrest his child back from Carrie and William?

That all sounds pretty promising and while I did enjoy the book and learning about this period along with such a strong willed female character (no helpless victim here), there were just a few shortfalls that kept this from being a great book. I’m not terribly fond of the present tense, which supposedly brings an *immediacy* to the story, but I just didn’t find myself getting sucked into either the story or the characters – I was always on the outside looking in. Worse yet, was the black and white nature of the characters pro-slavers = very very bad evil mean awful people and abolitionists = very very good kind honest people. It’s a shame, because the history the story is based upon sounds fascinating and I’d love to see a big fat meaty book on the topic. If it’s a period you want to learn more about, don’t be afraid to give it a whirl, it usually is just me who’s in the minority (but I’m used to that).

*****

My copy courtesy of the King County Library System

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