Trouble the Water: A Novel

Trouble the Water: A Novel

by Jacqueline Friedland

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Abigail Milton was born into the British middle class, but her family has landed in unthinkable debt. To ease their burdens, Abby’s parents send her to America to live off the charity of their old friend, Douglas Elling. When she arrives in Charleston at the age of seventeen, Abigail discovers that the man her parents raved about is a disagreeable widower who wants little to do with her. To her relief, he relegates her care to a governess, leaving her to settle into his enormous estate with little interference. But just as she begins to grow comfortable in her new life, she overhears her benefactor planning the escape of a local slave—and suddenly, everything she thought she knew about Douglas Elling is turned on its head. Abby’s attempts to learn more about Douglas and his involvement in abolition initiate a circuitous dance of secrets and trust. As Abby and Douglas each attempt to manage their complicated interior lives, readers can’t help but hope that their meandering will lead them straight to each other. Set against the vivid backdrop of Charleston twenty years before the Civil War, Trouble the Water is a captivating tale replete with authentic details about Charleston’s aristocratic planter class, American slavery, and the Underground Railroad.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781943006557
Publisher: SparkPress
Publication date: 05/08/2018
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 4,302
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Jacqueline Friedland holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and a JD from NYU Law School. She practiced as an attorney in New York before returning to school to receive her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. She lives in New York with her husband, four children, and a tiny dog. This is her first novel.

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Trouble the Water: A Novel 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous 8 months ago
gaele More than 1 year ago
Surprisingly fast paced despite the very plot-heavy themes with multiple challenges, growth and an overlay of tension that keeps readers flipping pages, this was a unique presentation that brought together historic events, challenges and choices in ways not before seen. Abigail Milton is a British girl, born to the middle class in the 1800’s. Her family has encountered difficulties and debts, and since she is ‘of that age’ it is time to prevail on a family friend in Charleston to take her on. She is put aboard a ship destined for the city, to live with wealthy family friend, Douglas Ettling and his family. But things have changed and Douglas is now widowed, and wants little to do with ‘raising’ this girl – instead handing her off to the care of a governess to ‘finish’ her education and prepare her for a life in Charleston society. Much to Abby’s delight, she’s not forced into interactions with the gruff and disagreeable Douglas, but instead discovering this new place, the ways of society there and becoming more settled and curious about her situation. Soon, Abby overhears Douglas and another man discussing a slave’s impending escape and their aiding in that process. This brings instant questions to Abby, as she discovers that her benefactor is, in fact, an abolitionist and far from ‘accepting’ the status quo of all ‘good Southern landowners’, he is quietly working against that system, or as quietly as one can after knowing his wife and young daughter’s death in a fire were a result of his beliefs. Soon the story changes as Abby understands the gravity of her situation and that her initial impressions of Douglas were wrong – as she looks at the issues around slavey, Planter Class, abolition, the outdated and outmoded (if very current) beliefs about the ‘humanity’ of the slaves, and their rights, as well as the early incarnations of the Underground Railroad, Douglas’ support of those looking for freedom, and her own relationship with Douglas framed by her new understanding of him and the dangers that seem to be ever-present in her new home. Friedland brings all the research clearly forward, allowing readers to experience both public and private faces of society at that time, revealing dangers to those who aren’t supportive of slavery as well as those running from bondage with the help of many who are willing to risk lives, reputations and lands to aid them on the way to freedom. A fast paved and atmospheric read that brings readers into the decades just before the Civil War when the abolitionists in the south have started to act, rather than simply believe, in the rightness of their cause. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an incredible book! Even with knowing a lot about this time period, it's not my usual historical fiction time period to read about. That being said, a fantastically researched book that is fast-paced with a cohesive, fantastic plot. Wonderful character development throughout the story. along with relationships between the characters.
reader72 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading this historical fiction novel. Even for those of you who don't usually read this genre or about slavery, this could be a good read as it is on the lighter side with a focus on some romance and Charleston society life. If anything, I wish the book included more about the Underground Railroad and the secret abolitionist movements in pre-Civil War south as that aspect was really interesting too. A strong debut novel from Friedland and I look forward to reading her future books. Disclosure: I know the author; our children attend the same school.
ReadingIsBelieving More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. The story moves along at a fast pace, but that doesn't mean you don't become attached to the characters or remain uninterested in their fates. Quite the opposite! There are trials and tribulations, tragedies and triumphs, and one inspired act of retribution that had me cheering out loud. Pre-civil war Charleston is described in such awesome detail that it almost becomes another character in the story. It was so interesting to me to see how each of the female characters, all from different walks of life, dealt with and overcame the limitations placed on them based on their social standing. Those with greater wealth weren't always the ones with greater freedom. Fans of historical fiction and/or cozy romance novels will really like this one!
bookwomen37 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this historical Novel. The novel takes place before the US Civil war in South Carolina. Abigail has been sent to SC to live with an old friend of the family after her family falls on hard times. When she arrives she must learn how to navigate in society and romance. Her benefactor is involved in the underground railroad and abolitionists and they decide to face the danger together. The author does a very good job with the historical background and the Charleston setting. The characters are well developed. The book is a quick easy read. I was a little disappointed in the ending and it seemed rushed. Enjoy
Holly More than 1 year ago
This book totally blew away my expectations for what I thought this book was going to be like, it truly is a great read! As the story begins with Abigail making the journey from England to Charleston, SC; you can't help but to wonder why is she been sent to live with someone she doesn't even know. Then when she does arrive in Charleston, meeting Douglas didn't exactly go as planned and you know then that he is hiding something that becomes more evident as the story goes along. It's when Abigail is introduced to a local family including one of the family members that you know somehow that is going to come into play, later on in the story. But it's not until Abby gets hurt that everything starts to come together in a way that you won't see coming including that stunning ending. This was truly a book that will make you feel like you are in Charleston, SC with all the drama, history and a love story that you wouldn't see coming! My only problem with this book was that it needed a map of where Douglas's office and house was in Charleston and where certain areas that was the Underground Railroad. This book truly speak to my soul and it made me even more homesick for a place that I was lucky to call home for a short while! For being that this is Jacqueline Friedland's first novel, I'm truly impressed and I can't wait to see what is next from her! Thank You to Jacqueline Friedland for this awesome novel that dared to be different in a time that didn't allow that!! I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book from the Publisher!
MaureenST More than 1 year ago
Most of this book takes place in the 1840’s in Charleston South Carolina and we meet slavery head on, but there are so many other stories going on here, a bit of romance, unrequited love, jealousy, abuse, and more. The author has given us a man who has suffered greatly from the hate of others, and we find him rebounding back to life, and then it seems to be snatched away from him. There is also a young woman who is sent to live from England to an unknown place in South Carolina, she goes away from her family in hopes that life will be easier for them, but there is another reason she leaves. You will need tissues handy when you get to the epilogue, has a happy, but very sad ending. This is a compelling page-turner, and you won’t be able to leave it until you have all of the answers. I received this book through the Publisher SparkPress, and was not required to give a positive review.