Fairer Than Morning by Rosslyn Elliott
Series: The Saddler Legacy (Bk 1)
Thomas Nelson Publishing
Order on Amazon for $10.76
About the book:
Ann dreams of a marriage proposal from her poetic suitor, Eli-until Will Hanby shows her that nobility is more than fine words.
On a small farm in 19th-century Ohio, young Ann Miller is pursued by the gallant Eli Bowen, son of a prominent family. Eli is the suitor of Ann's dreams. Like her, he enjoys poetry and beautiful things and soon, he will move to the city to become a doctor.
Ann travels to Pittsburgh, accompanying her father on business. There she meets Will Hanby, a saddle-maker's apprentice. Will has spent years eking out an existence under a cruel master and his spirit is nearly broken. But Ann's compassion lights a long-dark part of his soul. Through his encounters with Ann's father, a master saddler, Will discovers new hope and courage in the midst of tremendous adversity.
When the Millers must return to Ohio and their ministry there, Will resolves to find them, at any cost. If Will can make it back to Ann, will she be waiting?
Both heroes in Fairer Than Morning are strong individuals. Both have a will to survive and know what they believe although it's not apparent necessarily at the beginning. I truly enjoyed the strength of Will, an 18 year old indentured servant learning the trade of saddlery. The book takes place in the 1820's, Will has a cruel "master" who enjoys beating on his apprentices and "lording" his power and right to hurt them and take his frustration out on them. It was really nice to see him retain his faith during the years he is indentured to this man and to see his prayers asking God to help him get through it.
Ann is the heroine of the book. Her father is a circut minister and saddler who travels frequently and Ann is left to care for her 2 younger sisters that she is more or less raising on her own. Her life revolves around her family and the various suitors who ride up to her house and take her riding or to dances. Ann's character is very strong and it was nice to see that in a historical novel.
I didn't notice Ann's faith as much as Will's who has obviously leaned heavily on God and his knowledge of scripture which his father instilled in him before he died when Will was 10. I found it kind of surprising that Ann's didn't seem as strong (visibly) as her father is a minister but there doesn't seem to be any scenes of her getting into the word much/nor praying as much as Will did (granted his was praying for strength just to get through his day).
An outstanding book with strong characters. There were several plots through out the book, all are very well thought out and completed with no loose threads by the end. I personally don't recommend this book for kids under 16 probably. In fact if you want to make it available to them you may want to read it first. The subjects covered throughout include slavery, premarital sex, branding, disfigurement and there are also a few graphically described scenes (that are tastefully done if that's possible). There are discussion questions and it's a good opportunity to see life from another's eyes and to see how God helps those who call on him.
Be sure to watch for Book 2, Sweeter Than Birdsong, coming February 2012. I really looking forward to reading it!
Her study of American literature spurred her to pursue her lifelong dream of writing fiction. Rosslyn lives with her husband and daughter in the southwestern United States.
Much thanks goes to Thomas Nelson and Litfuse for sharing a copy of Fairer Than Morning with me to review. I have found a new favorite author and I look forward to reading more of her works. No money exchanged hands and I was not required to write a positive review.
FaceBook Party Announcement!
To enter just click one of the icons to the left. But, hurry, giveaway ends on 9/19. Winner will be announced on 9/20 at Rosslyn's Book Club Facebook Party. Details and official rules can be found when entering the contest.
During the party Rosslyn will be chatting with guests, hosting a book chat about Fairer Than Morning & historical fiction, testing your trivia skills, and giving away books and gift certificates (Amazon, iTunes, Starbucks). She'll also be giving away a $200 gift certificate toward a FABULOUS custom-made period dress from Recollections!
Don't forget: Sept 1-20!