Don’t you just love a good feel-good book? I do and Rosslyn Elliott does an outstanding job in her debut fiction novel, Fairer than Morning (Thomas Nelson Publishers, May 2011). It’s the first in The Saddler’s Legacy Series, a trilogy of historical fiction based on the true story of the Hanby family; telling the tale of Will Hanby and Ann Miller.
Fairer Than Morning
The story travels with the characters from Ohio to Pittsburgh and is set in the early 19th Century. We are introduced to Anne Miller, a young woman searching for true love. We meet Eli Bowen, her perfect match and suitor. The story unfolds as Ann travels with her father on business to Pittsburgh and meets Will Hanby.
William Hanby (1808-1880) was born in Pennsylvania, the oldest of five children. His father died when William was young. Soon after his mother “bound” him to a Quaker farmer for six years. He became a saddle maker, but having enough of Jacob Good, his master’s mistreatment of him, William runs away to Ohio after three years.
Meeting William touches Ann’s hear and he changes her life in ways she didn’t expect. She sees human cruelty in hatred and heartache and forges the beauty and triumph of forgiveness and courage that begin to mold her present and lay the path to her future.
This book really touched me. It is a gripping story of courage and the price of freedom as the reader feels the unspeakable cruelties William Hanby suffers. His body is broken, bruised and batter and his spirit a dying flicker. It’s the Miller family who bring new hope and light to William. The path to his freedom is dangerous, however he has much to live for as he rediscovers forgiveness, faith and love.
Elliott does an outstanding job of capturing William’s trial and guiding the reader through his transformation into a courageous man, however, Ann’s character seems to idle and while she progresses, it isn’t the same experience nor as moving as William’s. She however, does an incredible job blending historical fact with fiction and uses excellent imagery.
AT 383 pages, Fairer than Morning is a novel I truly loved. I believe it highlights part of history that are not widely touched on in fictional literature. Perhaps it’s that we prefer to sweep under the rug the part of our history that found apprentices being abused and slavery at its peak. Then again, perhaps it was these heart-breaking circumstances that gave our country’s men and women, the inspiration to progress.
Watch for Rosslyn Elliott’s second book, about Benjamin Hanby, Ann and William’s son, set to be published in February 2012.
About the author: As the child of a career military man, Rosslyn Elliott lived in four states and two foreign countries before she graduated from high school. She attended Yale University, where she earned her BA in English and Theater Studies. After five years working first in corporate New York City, then as a schoolteacher, she entered the Ph.D. program in English at Emory University and finished her dissertation in 2006. Her study of American literature spurred her to pursue her lifelong dream of writing fiction. Rosslyn lives with her husband and daughter in the southwestern United States.
Thanks to Amy at Litfuse Publicity for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Rosslyn Elliott here. You can purchase your own copy here. You can see other reviews and tour stops here.
To celebrate the release of her debut novel, Fairer Than Morning, Rosslyn Elliott is giving
away two fabulous prize packages. The first is brand new KINDLE in her
Fairer Than Morning Kindle Giveaway. Then on September 20th she’s giving
away a $200 gift certificate toward a Custom-Made Historical Reproduction Dress
(from Recollections) during the Fairer Than Morning Book
Club Chat Party on Facebook! Sigh…romantic.
Fairer Than Morning is receiving wonderful reviews – Library Journal said, “A well-
written historical series debut…”. Read more reviews here.
To celebrate the release of her debut novel, Rosslyn is giving away a Kindle Prize Package and a Custom-Made Historical Reproduction Dress! Sigh…romantic.
One winner will receive:
* Kindle with Wi-Fi
* Fairer Than Morning (for Kindle)
To enter just click one of the icons below. But, hurry, giveaway ends on 9/19. Winner will be announced on 9/20 at Rosslyn’s Book Club Facebook Party. Details and official rules can be found when entering the contest.
During the party Rosslyn will be chatting with guests, hosting a book chat about Fairer Than Morning & historical fiction, testing your trivia skills, and giving away books and gift certificates (Amazon, iTunes, Starbucks). She’ll also be giving away a $200 gift certificate toward a FABULOUS custom-made period dress from Recollections!
*I received a copy of Fairer Than Morning in order to facilitate an honest review. The opinions, where expressed are my own and were in no way influenced by the sponsor. Others experiences may vary.