Sunday, May 1, 2011

Fairer than Morning by Rosslyn Elliott

Rating: 4 Stars

Rosslyn Elliott makes her debut in the Christian fiction marketplace with the poignant and non-formulaic novel, Fairer than Morning.  As the first installment in The Saddler's Legacy Series, Fairer than Morning introduces readers to Will Hanby and Ann Miller, two real-life figures who helped to shape American history through their faith and courage.

Set in the early 19th century, the plot of Fairer than Morning spans from Ohio to Pittsburgh. Ann Miller is a young woman with a poetic soul who searching for true love.  By all appearances, Eli Bowen, a handsome and charming suitor from Ann's hometown is her perfect match.  When she accompanies her father on a business trip to Pittsburgh, Ann meets a mistreated saddler's apprentice, Will Hanby. Will's plight stirs Ann's soul, and the connection that she initially forms with Will changes her life in unexpected ways.  Introduced to the harsh realities of human cruelty, Ann witnesses hatred, heartache, forgiveness, and courage that shape both her present and her future.

Will Hanby suffers unspeakable cruelties from his master, Jacob Good.  His spirit and his body have been broken, battered, and bruised. Ann Miller and her family bring welcome rays of light and love into Will's life and awaken his desires for freedom.  Will's quest for freedom is arduous and dangerous, but the priceless treasures of faith, forgiveness, and love ease his painful burdens and shape him into a compassionate and courageous man.

Fairer than Morning is a touching and inspiring novel, which has been appropriately compared to the works of Charles Dickens.  The plights of abused apprentices and slaves are topics that are not generally covered in fiction novels.  Unfortunately, such harsh realities are part of American history; but Fairer than Morning is proof that one can find inspiration in the most heartbreaking circumstances.

I instantly felt sympathy and compassion for Will Hanby and the secondary characters in the novel who suffer through similar trials.  Will's journey to freedom is full of danger, suspense, and sadness, and readers will be moved by his growth and the development of his impressive character. I found Ann's character a bit more difficult to connect with, but enjoyed witnessing her progression into a strong and courageous young woman.

Elliott blends historical fact with fiction to create a well-developed plot with detailed imagery.  At times, the pace of the novel slowed, perhaps because of the abundance of details. Ultimately, the book felt longer than its 383 pages, but I feel that it is a commendable novel, which I will recommend to other readers. Fairer than Morning is a compelling beginning to a series that promises to be inspiring.

I  received a complimentary copy of this book from BookSneeze (Thomas Nelson Publishers) through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above 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.”

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