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Posted July 22, 2013
Nathaniel is an 11 year old boy who is looking forward to the lazy days of summer. Little did he know that this summer he would have to make a stand.
His family has been split in their views on slavery. His father and grandfather are abolitionists while his mother feels that it is wrong to deprive someone of their property. She feels laws are laws and should not be broken.
Nathaniel's dad has joined the Union army that past fall and they have not heard from him. While he is facing his fear about his father, he must also face his choice on slavery. Can an 11 year old boy make the right choice? With the help from his grandfather, the Bible and another unlikely source, Nathaniel's path is set and choice made.
Only con with this book: It is too short! Would love to learn the rest of the story. However, perhaps not, this leaves the rest to your own imagination!
Posted July 16, 2013
Safe House Revealed!
Eleven-year-old Nathanial Johnson dangled his feet in the Ohio River, dreaming about his father who had enlisted in the Union Army as the Civil War raged. Nathanial's father was fighting for what he believed in, freedom for slaves. He and Nathanial's grandfather Johnson were abolitionists, active in the delivery of slaves to safe houses and eventual freedom along the Underground Railroad to the north. Having heard numerous stories of slave traffic through their home town in Ripley, Ohio, Nathanial questioned his grandfather about what a safe house represented, and soon discovered that his own home was a safe house, a haven for slaves in the quest for freedom. His accidental discovery of a slave family hiding on their farm led Nathanial to a whole new level in his understanding of what the Underground Railroad represented.
Kathi Macias writes a poignant and well researched story of a young boy whose concerns and questions about war, slavery and abolition came to fruition upon his discovery of a slave family hiding on his farm. This story of coming of age and development to a new level of maturity, sensitivity and concern that Nathanial's character represents, are realistic and flow naturally. The details of factual events regarding abolition, safe houses and the Underground Railroad are well researched and told in a way that even young people can understand and enjoy. Kathi Macias is a master storyteller who creates a factual tale with insight and sensitivity.
Disclaimer: I received a PDF copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are mine, and no monetary compensation was received for this review.
Posted July 16, 2013
In Safe House, Kathi Macias pens a compelling tale about eleven year old Nathaniel who is faced with an unexpected complication to his daydreaming. When reality calls and lives are at stake, he must make an important decision.
It is the summer of 1863. With his pa off fighting in the war, Nathaniel prepares himself for the first summer break without his father. He wonders when he will see him again. His pa and grandpa are abolitionists, but his ma believes it is wrong to break the law by helping to deprive others of their rightful property. He has not yet decided what to think of it himself.
Then Nathaniel discovers a secret which he cannot tell anyone, but it seems like his grandpa already knows…
When danger comes to their town at night, he must grow up fast and take responsibility. Other people’s lives are in his hands. Will he do what is right?
Posted July 16, 2013
I offered to read and review this historical short story and looked forward in eager anticipation to getting into the story. I was instantly hooked by the main character, 11-year-old Nathaniel Johnson. The story takes place during June 1863 when school is out on holiday. He misses his father who signed up to fight in the Civil War the previous autumn and has not been heard of since.
Nathaniel lives with his mother and grandfather who share opposite views on the issue of slaves. His grandfather and Nathaniel's missing father are both strong abolitionists, while his mother believes Christians should obey the law and not be involved in abetting legally-owned slaves to find freedom.
The youngster is torn in his feelings, wanting to believe his mother is correct and yet horrified by some of the stories fed to him by his grandfather. Things come to a head when Nathaniel discovered a young slave couple hiding in the family barn with their hours-old infant. His grandfather is old and frail, his father is missing, and the raiding party is on its way to find and recapture slaves on the run. The boy faces a decision which could carry horrific consequences and thrust him into a manhood he is scarcely ready for.
The characters are strong and well-portrayed, and the story line gripped me from the first paragraph. The author has used her ability to create atmosphere well, and as a reader I could see Nathaniel's favorite spot, "nearly hidden away in a sheltered cove on the banks of the Ohio River" and feel the cool water lapping around his bare feet. I felt the boy's pain and fear at the loss of his father, and the emotional turmoil over the opposing points of view in the issue of slaves.
When the story reaches its climax, with the knowledge that a raiding party of slave catchers are on their way, the tension becomes tangible and I couldn't put the book down until I learned what Nathaniel was going to do.
My only complaint is that the book stopped too soon! I wanted to read on and learn how Nathaniel's decision affects his future and that of his family. Despite this, I strongly recommend this short book and give it a five-star review.
I have not been compensated in any way for this review, and these are my honest opinions.