Comfort: A Novel of the Reverse Underground Railroad

Comfort: A Novel of the Reverse Underground Railroad

Paperback(1st Edition)

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Comfort: A Novel of the Reverse Underground Railroad by Harry A. Maxson, Claudia H. Young

The year 1816 in Delaware and surrounding states was known as “the year without a summer” due to debris from the eruption of Mt. Tambora that tainted most of the Northern hemisphere with chill and darkness. This time of chill and darkness provides the setting for this ambitious tale of people divided by the institution of slavery, ignorance, greed and social isolation and the triumph of a few people of character over impossible odds. Historians H.A. Maxson and Claudia H. Young bring alive this little known time and place in America. Their collaboration results in a memorable tale of loyalty and betrayal, compassion and cruelty, and of dauntless courage and creativity. Comfort is a talented young seamstress who has worked to buy her freedom from slavery from her benevolent owner, an Irish immigrant and former indentured servant. Her husband Cuff is an unwise, irresponsible and weak man who sells his wife to pay his gambling debt. When Comfort falls into the hands of the reprehensible dealer of human flesh Joe Johnson, she is sold south to Virginia, to a cruel master and poor manager. Comfort’s stalwart friend Esther, is a slave whose skin is pale enough for her to pass as white. Esther possesses an extensive knowledge of “Roots”, the native art of using plants for therapeutic and not-so-therapeutic purposes. Esther pairs with Pompey, a mute freed slave who is clever and resourceful, to escape her sadistic owner, travel south to find Comfort and help her find her way back to freedom and her baby girl. Comfort tells the story of how shared morality and character can lead to unlikely partnerships in intrepid heroism. This extraordinary work by veteran authors sets a new standard for interpretation of the reverse underground railroad.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781624910449
Publisher: Parkhurst Brothers Publishers Inc
Publication date: 11/01/2014
Edition description: 1st Edition
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 14 Years

About the Author

H. A. Maxson  teaches English and writing at Wesley College in Delaware. He and his cousin Claudia H. Young have co-authored many books together. Their shared love of Delaware state history and teaching has resulted in many publications that are used in teaching history and social studies in the public schools in their area.

Claudia H. Young was born and raised in coastal New Jersey.  After living in many locations across the country as a military family, she and her husband and children settled in Dover, Delaware, where they still live. Claudia retired from teaching elementary school and enjoys travel, golf and time with her children and grandchildren. She is an avid reader who thoroughly enjoys researching and co-authoring books with H.A. Maxson, her cousin.


H. A. Maxson 
I began my writing career as a poet and as an occasional literary critic. My first three books were poetry collections. I continue writing poetry and publishing collections every few years. Early on I wrote a few short stories, but I delayed writing longer fiction (and non-fiction prose) for decades. Why? When I began writing in earnest, there were no personal computers. Everything was written long hand and then revised drafts were typed, and retyped, and retyped. I never learned to touch type despite the lessons in high school, so typing was a slow hunt-and-peck. I was not about to commit myself to 75,000 words and probably years of typing a single ms. (Side note: I am now a demon on the keyboard, two fingers and a thumb a blur). However, I still write first drafts long hand. Poet-novelist? Novelist-poet? Both bring with them a specific satisfaction. I cannot imagine abandoning either one.

Claudia H. Young:
History is a good story told well. As a teacher I saw my students recall the historical details of an engaging story, but immediately forget the material they read in a standard history text book. When my cousin Max and I began to collaborate and write about Delaware and Maryland history, our historical fiction titles for children were well received in the Delaware public school system. Our books are still in use in more than one third of the public elementary schools across the state. Max and I often gave talks to students about our Delaware history books. We described how we started each book with a field trip and research. We visited historical sites across Delaware and Maryland  and met many wonderful people eager to help us find our information.  Museum curators, archivists, ship captains, secretaries and history enthusiasts aided our research efforts.

History will always be a source for good stories. I have enjoyed this venture with Max to create Comfort’s story. It is a story about her journey out of slavery, back into slavery and back out again. Perhaps adult readers can become more aware of this lesser known segment of our history. If not, I hope they simply enjoy the story.

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