Path of Freedom, Quilt sof Love Series, by Jennifer Hudson Taylor
I love this series and this one sounds like an interesting read, romance and a mystery, quilting and religion.
Quaker faith, 1860's Bruce Millikan is just back in town and Pastor John of the local meeting group wants him and others to accompany a black wife and husband to safer grounds, up north.
Flora Saferight and her sister Irene both will go and find themselves in trouble on the second day out in the woods.
Flora struggles and keeps Marta-the pregnant woman safe while she was thrust into the river and got banged around by the current and the rocks.
She prays Bruce will find her and has already led the others to safety. Her mother was also part of the Underground Railroad and explained to her about the quilt that was made and how it showed the route they must take from NC to Charlottesville, VA.
Such country as we had gone there to visit the Walton's Mountain exhibit. Bruce and Flora in days gone by had butted heads with one another too many times but for this mission they agreed to be friends. They were to deliver the couple to a place in PA
but with Marta being pregnant-the reason Flora went along, they hoped to reach the relatives house in VA first. Flora's mother had told her there would be another quilt for the rest of the journey..
They meet up with many friends along the way to gain them more knowledge of their journey further north with safety. When they return and again meet at the relatives house the women decide to take the train back as they had always wanted to. Bruce just wants to deliver them safely as he promised their parents. He also is jealous that Flora may want to spend time with the new doctor in the area and court him. He leaves with a letter from her to be read once he reaches home but he's so tired when he arrives he forgot about it.
Flora asks his brother if he'd read the letter when she returns home and they all suspect it's a good bye letter and that she's moving to VA to work alongside the doctor.
There are many times they pray along the way, at meals and at everyday occurrences. Love what the quilts represent in this book, great storyline with strong characters of faith.
I received this book from Abingdon Press in exchange for my honest review.
Jennifer Hudson Taylor in her new book, "Path of Freedom" Book Three in the Quilts of Love series published by Abingdon Press takes us into the lives of Flora Saferight and Bruce Millikan.
From the back cover: How much would you risk to save another's life?
When Quakers Flora Saferight and Bruce Millikan embark on the Underground Railroad, they agree to put their differences aside to save the lives of a pregnant slave couple. With only a quilt from Flora's mother as a secret guide, the foursome follows the stitches into unknown treachery.
As they embark on their perilous journey, they hope and pray that their path is one of promise where love sustains them, courage builds faith, and forgiveness leads to freedom.
I would think that the most dangerous trip was along the Underground Railway. If you were caught the slaves were sent back to wherever they had escaped from for punishment and whoever else was there could be killed for helping in the escape. Yet, Flora and Bruce are willing to chance it for a couple that they don't really know. "Path of Freedom" is a nice romance also filled with action and suspense. Jennifer Hudson Taylor has filled this story with many themes, one being the bullying and what it produces in the person being bullied. I enjoyed this aspect of the book so much as this is not a theme that is popular. Want a fun read that will not only entertain you but make you think as well? Well then I recommend "Path of Freedom".
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Abingdon Press. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
In this pre-Civil War story of transporting slaves to freedom via the Underground Railroad, a special quilt plays an important role in paving the road to "safe houses" where supporters assist in concealing slaves on their journey to freedom. The Quakers were operatives in these missions, and Bruce Millikan is active and experienced in delivering escaped slaves to freedom. In his hometown of Greensboro, NC Bruce appeals for assistance in the transport of a young slave couple to Pennsylvania. To complicate matters the young wife is pregnant. In order to safely carry out the mission Bruce seeks the assistance of a midwife in the event that the pregnant slave would deliver her child while traveling. Flora Saferight is a young midwife who is sought to accompany Bruce in the transport of his "cargo." Bruce Millikan and Flora Saferight shared a contentious, discordant childhood, a result of Bruce's name calling and hurtful behavior. They ultimately reach a mutual agreement, and Flora and her younger sister prepare to accompany Bruce and his cargo through the Underground Railroad. Flora's mother had created a freedom quilt with unique and helpful maps sewn into it to assist in their journey to safe houses along the dangerous route. A special wagon designed for the express purpose of transporting slaves featured a false bottom which concealed the slaves underneath the wagon itself. Numerous dangers are encountered, challenging the fortitude of the travelers. Through prayer and the guidance God provides, a developing respect begins to break down old walls of mistrust and resentment that Flora has harboured over the years.
Jennifer Hudson Taylor weaves a fascinating fictional tale of personal friction that progresses to acceptance and friendship through forgiveness and faith. Combined with the dangers ever present along the path to safety and freedom, realistic events are combined by the portrayal of historical events in our nation's history. Personal character development takes precendence over the roles of the Underground Railroad and the story quilts that contained secret codes thought to direct "conductors" to safe houses and unknown routes. I would have enjoyed more description of the Underground Railroad and the quilts thought to have been useful with the Underground Railroad, but I found this to be a romantic and suspenseful adventure.
Bruce Millikan has just returned home after an eight month mission working with the Underground Railroad in Indiana, and yet again, he has managed to say the wrong thing to Flora Saferight. Flora and her sister Irene are planning a train journey to Charlottesville, and are asked to change their plans so they can travel with two escaped slaves with them - escorted by Bruce Milliken. Neither Bruce nor Flora are happy with the proposal, but Flora has experience as a midwife, which will be necessary for the journey, and Bruce is the best choice, so the two are forced to work together.
There is a good mix of internal and external conflict, with Flora and Bruce's longstanding antipathy towards one another and the need to keep the escaped slaves safe. They are two flawed but likeable characters--many Christian novels, especially historicals, have such perfect Christians that they just aren't believable. Bruce and Flora are very believable as they travel together and begin to acknowledge their growing feelings for each other.
Path of Freedom got off to a good start with a two page explanation of the (disputed) history of underground code quilts, and the involvement of Quakers in the Underground Railroad (a national network of safe houses for escaped slaves seeking freedom in the North and later in Canada). I like this kind of discussion, because it shows the author has done her research. Sadly, it seems that historical accuracy is not a prerequisite to getting published, but it makes reading so much more pleasurable (and makes writing a positive review much easier).
This is the third book in the Quilts of Love series that I have read and reviewed, and the first historical. The novels are all stand-alone stories by a range of authors, but all have a real or fictional quilt as a central part of the story. I think this is my favourite so far, and I will certainly keep my eyes open for more books in this series, and more novels by Jennifer Hudson Taylor.
Thanks to Abingdon Press and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.