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Reviewed by Amanda Schafer

Agnes Canon and her sisters were always a source of disappointment to her father, mainly because they were girls but also because they had yet to provide him with any grandchildren. So when Agnes refuses to marry a local boy and decides to leave home, she further disappoints him and drives the wedge between them even deeper. Agnes is aware that she’s a spinster and will likely never marry, so when she moves out west with extended family and settles in the town of Lick Creek, Missouri, she is startled by her feelings toward Dr. Jabez Robinson.

Jabez is a doctor who treated men during the war with Mexico and because of that he’s determined not to take sides in the situation facing their country: slavery. Many in the northwest-Missouri town wish to continue the practice of slavery while others are siding with the Yankees and want to allow the Negroes to be free. Jabez and Agnes find themselves trying to be neutral in a situation that refuses any the ability to be so and thus they end up suffering just like the rest of the country.

Agnes has always fought for her right to be just who she is but knows that she must also be who others want her to be. She fights for her marriage at every turn. She fights for the lives of her children. Then when all seems lost she fights again with Jabez for a new life for their little family. In the end, Agnes spends her whole life fighting outside forces and yet remains a very determined and formidable woman in a time when women were often overlooked.

Deborah Lincoln is attempting to honor her family in writing this novel that is greatly based on truth. The characters are many and are often difficult to keep straight, but the story is clear and beautifully written. I struggled at times with needing to pull out a dictionary in order to fully understand some of the language used. I would like to think that this is due to the author using correct language for the time rather than my own ignorance as many of the terms were deemed “old terms”. Regardless, this is definitely not an “easy reading” novel; instead, it’s a story that has a great amount of history and a certain level of understanding of that history must be in place prior to reading.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Amanda lives in Missouri with her engineering husband, two sons, and one daughter. In between homeschooling and keeping up with church activities she loves to read Christian Fiction, Women’s Fiction, and any Chick-Lit. She never goes anywhere without a book to read!

Review copy was provided by Deborah Lincoln. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.