Worthy Brown's Daughter

( 10 )

Overview

Matthew Penny, a young lawyer, arrives on the frontier with nothing but shattered dreams. Unable to face the memories that await back home, he joins the handful of lawyers practicing in Portland, Oregon—which in 1860 is just a riverfront town in a state less than a year old. Worthy Brown, a slave from Georgia, journeys west with his master, Caleb Barbour, who promises to reward Worthy and his daughter, Roxanne, with their freedom if they help him establish a homestead in Oregon. When Barbour reneges on his ...

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Worthy Brown's Daughter

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Overview

Matthew Penny, a young lawyer, arrives on the frontier with nothing but shattered dreams. Unable to face the memories that await back home, he joins the handful of lawyers practicing in Portland, Oregon—which in 1860 is just a riverfront town in a state less than a year old. Worthy Brown, a slave from Georgia, journeys west with his master, Caleb Barbour, who promises to reward Worthy and his daughter, Roxanne, with their freedom if they help him establish a homestead in Oregon. When Barbour reneges on his pledge, Worthy's hope for a fresh start with his child is destroyed.

The fates of these desperate men intertwine in a breathtaking narrative about the extent of evil and the high price of true justice. Matthew and Worthy decide to challenge Barbour in court, but events rapidly spiral out of their control and the stakes become higher than either of them ever could have imagined. And when Matthew crosses paths with Heather Gillette, the beautiful daughter of a wealthy Portland businessman, his grief-stricken existence is turned upside down, and suddenly he has everything to fight for. Worthy Brown's Daughter is a compelling white-knuckle drama about two broken men risking everything for what they believe in.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
09/02/2013
Based loosely on true events, the latest legal thriller from criminal defense attorney turned bestseller Margolin (Lost Lake) follows Matthew Penny, a pistol-bearing lawyer guided by his own moral compass. Portland, Ore., in the 1860s is a nest of conflict: property lawsuits stall the inevitable construction of a railroad, and a black man on trial expects a racist jury. Here, the innocent is Worthy Brown, a freed black man who asks Matthew to rescue his daughter, Roxanne, from Caleb Barbour, a crooked lawyer who illegally holds her in servitude. When Worthy is discovered standing over Caleb’s dead body, and only he and Matthew know the truth, justice seems unlikely. Around this central drama, Margolin establishes characters that might have stepped out of a grainy Western, among them the evil siren Sharon Hill—“a full-figured woman whose oval face was framed by ebony ringlets that were in sharp contrast to her milk-white complexion.” Margolin allows passions to sway his heroes, and generates empathy toward his crooks. If only the black characters worshipped their white benefactors less, or if one female character was spared a derogatory physical description. The plot is at times frustratingly one-dimensional, but Matthew is ultimately forced to distinguish truth from justice. On the courtroom floor, where Margolin is clearly at home, the stock characters adopt roles, albeit briefly, in a satisfying, white-knuckle climax. (Feb.)
Booklist
“The Old West comes alive in heart-wrenching, violent, and wicked racist color…. Legal thriller and western fans will stay with it to the last page.… Margolin’s novel offers a compelling portrait of small town justice done right.”
Huffington Post
“In New York Times bestselling author Phillip Margolin’s first historical, recently widowed attorney Matthew Penny has come to newly-settled Oregon to start fresh. He stumbles into the most challenging case of his career when a former slave, Worthy Brown, asks him to save his teenage daughter.”
USA Today
“This departure for best-selling thriller writer Margolin might appeal to fans of the acclaimed movie 12 Years a Slave.”
Oregonian (Portland)
“Margolin captures both the haphazard legal theater—when judges ride the circuit, Portland’s ‘courthouse’ is a loft on the third floor of the Coleman Barrel Company—and the daunting racism of the times.”
Bookreporter.com
“Phillip Margolin explores intriguing new territory in Worthy Brown’s Daughter, a compelling historical drama, set in nineteenth-century Oregon, that combines a heartbreaking story of slavery and murder with classic Margolin plot twists.”
Iron Mountain News
Worthy Brown’s Daughter reads something like Deadwood meets Twelve Years a Slave. The finale in the courtroom is as brilliant and exciting as any great legal drama…. [A] beautifully written story rooted in America’s brutal history of slavery and racism.”
Bellingham Herald
“The action is brisk and the villains are shifty…[t]his energetic tale does cover interesting regional history for readers who might be averse to picking up a book of nonfiction, but who are willing to follow Margolin in his break from the regular routine.”
Seattle Times
Worthy Brown’s Daughteris a fast and absorbing read, and Margolin’s law expertise makes the book’s climax…an exciting moment indeed.”
Library Journal - Audio
09/15/2013
It's hardly surprising that Margolin's latest work wraps with a huge courtroom scene, but what intrigues here is the setting. Best-selling thriller author Margolin has forsaken the modern world for 19th-century Oregon, where lawyer Matthew Penny agrees to help freed slave Worthy Brown retrieve his daughter from their former master, a big-time Portland lawyer. Tragically, his efforts lead to Worthy's arrest for murder. Meanwhile, ice-cold hanging judge Jed Tyler has fallen for a gorgeous woman with money in her sights and murder in her heart. Based on a real case, which should bring out the best in former criminal defense attorney Margolin; with a 150,000-copy first printing.
Library Journal
12/01/2013
Approximately 30 years ago, Margolin began writing this novel inspired by a case from the 1800s in which Col. Nathaniel Ford brought a slave family from Missouri to Oregon to help him start up his farm on the condition they would be freed after it was up and running. Colonel Ford freed the parents but kept the children as indentured servants. In this fictionalized account, attorney Matthew Penny, recently located to Oregon, agrees to help freed slave Worthy Brown recover his daughter, Roxanne, from his former master Caleb Barbour, a Portland lawyer. Many twists and turns later, Brown eventually finds himself on trial for murder. Matthew seeks help from a prominent attorney in the area, Orville Mason, and finds himself immersed in a scuffle between businessman Ben Gillette, his beautiful daughter, Heather, and gold digger Sharon Hill. VERDICT With plenty of action and short chapters, this historical legal thriller is a quick read. Some of the conversation seems stilted and contrived, and certain plotlines are too easily and quickly tied up. Margolin's fans might be surprised by this one, which strays from his normal modern thrillers, but the lively narrative will keep readers engrossed. [See Prepub Alert, 8/26/13.]—Brooke Bolton, North Manchester P.L., IN
Kirkus Reviews
2013-10-21
Legal thriller writer Margolin (Sleight of Hand, 2013, etc.) turns back the clock to confront murder, deceit and slavery in frontier Oregon. It's 1860. Matthew Penny's established a hardscrabble law practice in bustling Portland, but Matthew isn't happy. On the trail from Ohio to Oregon, his wife, Rachel, drowned during a river crossing. Haunted by her death, Matthew throws himself into cases he finds in taverns, farms and settlements, like Phoenix. Matthew's there to try a civil case against Ben Gillette, Oregon's richest man. Before that trial, however, the judge compels Matthew to defend a salesman against theft charges brought by a beautiful, mysterious traveler from San Francisco, Sharon Hill. Matthew loses, but before that trial, he had been approached by Worthy Brown, a former slave. Worthy warns him that Ben's attorney intends to fix the Gillette jury. For that information, Worthy wants Matthew's assistance in freeing his daughter from indentured servitude. Ben's attorney, Caleb Barbour, came to Oregon from the slave state of Georgia. Caleb's reneged on a promise to free the pair after arrival in Oregon. Margolin's novel draws on historical elements, but midnarrative, he strays from legal confrontations over slavery. The story becomes historical fiction encompassing murder and romance, albeit one peopled with sympathetic characters, major and minor. Margolin shines in recreating pioneer life, especially as Matthew rides the court circuit, traipses mud-bogged Portland streets and sails to gold-rush–rich San Francisco. There, Matthew confronts a crooked lawyer conspiring to loot the Gillette empire. In the end, there's legal wrangling, murder and romance, set against the backdrop of race and frontier life. Margolin's dialogue is sometimes affected, sometimes faintly anachronistic, but his scene-setting, knowledge of the frontier and relating of the hard task of the law make for an appealing read that, the author says, took 30 years to write.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062310996
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/21/2014
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Pages: 8
  • Sales rank: 531,194
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 5.70 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Phillip Margolin

Phillip Margolin has written eighteen novels, many of them New York Times bestsellers, including the recent Worthy Brown's Daughter, Sleight of Hand, and the Washington Trilogy. Each displays a unique, compelling insider's view of criminal behavior, which comes from his long background as a criminal defense attorney who has handled thirty murder cases. Winner of the Distinguished Northwest Writer Award, he lives in Portland, Oregon.

Good To Know

From 1965 to 1967, Margolin was a Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia, West Africa.

In our interview, Margolin tells us more about himself: "I have a terrific marriage -- 34 years and going strong -- two terrific children who make me proud, and I am the president of Chess for Success, a nonprofit that uses chess to build self-esteem and to trick elementary and middle school children into learning study skills that will help them do well in school. We are currently in 35 Title I elementary schools and six middle schools."

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    1. Also Known As:
      Phillip M. Margolin
    1. Education:
      B.A. in Government, American University, 1965; New York University School of Law, 1970

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 10 )
Rating Distribution

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(6)

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(2)

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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 2, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    In the early 1980's lawyer Phillip Margolin stumbled upon a case

    In the early 1980's lawyer Phillip Margolin stumbled upon a case from an Oregon file dated 1844. The case stayed with him over the years and "I was so inspired by this story that I began thinking about writing a novel loosely based on it."

    Nearly thirty years later, he did. Margolin's latest release is Worthy Brown's Daughter.

    Matthew Penny, a young lawyer in mid 1880's Oregon, is hired by former slave Worthy Brown. His master freed Worthy, but reneged on his promise to also free Worthy's young daughter Roxanne. Penny takes the case. Margolin also mixes in a secondary storyline involving a crooked judge and a gold digger. The two plots do have a connection - the headstrong woman who captures Penny's interest.

    I chose to listen to Worthy Brown's Daughter. The reader was Jason Culp. Culp has a clear speaking voice that is easy to listen to. He does provide lots of inflection, accenting actions and emotions. But I did have a hard time with the voices he provided for some characters - notably the females and black characters. They seemed overdone and overwrought. But this could simply be the dialogue that Culp is reading from. I thought some of Margolin's scenes and dialogue were over sensationalized. This detracted from what was otherwise a solid storyline.

    Margolin has done his research - the legal system of the time is accurately portrayed. It was fascinating to think that this was an actual case.

    From the publisher's website: "Worthy Brown's Daughter is a compelling white-knuckle drama about two broken men risking everything for what they believe in." Not quite for this listener. I found it to be entertaining, but nowhere near white-knuckle territory.

    Margolin is a prolific author, having penned many legal thrillers. Fans of James Patterson would enjoy Margolin's style of writing.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 21, 2014

    VERY ENTERTAINING READING.

    "Law was like that. Victory and elation one minute, and crushing defeat the next."—page 41

    WORTH BROWN'S DAUGHTER, by Phillip Margolin is a very entering read—an exceptionally well told historical novel, with a lawyerly twist. Set in the exciting city of Portland, during Oregon's first year of statehood, 1860, with side junkets to the glittering city of San Francisco and its nefarious Barbary Coast, this novel is a special treat for fans of the history of the western edge of the country.

    Recommendation: Highly recommended for all who might be interested in history, law and/or culture; and to those, who just enjoy good, engaging, illuminating storytelling.

    "…then he would be forced to admit that he had destroyed his reputation and career for the delusions and criminal ambitions of a madwoman."—page 236

    NOOKbook edition, 283 pages

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2014

    Bk

    She twirls around.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2014

    Break Room for Police

    * come here to chat if u r a policeman. *

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2014

    Parker

    No. I cant do this. Goodbye nat

    0 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted March 14, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2014

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    Posted June 7, 2014

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