“At last they reached farm lands in the rolling plains. These seemed broader than any fields Emma had ever seen, and in the wooded glades, the variety of greens emerging with the rain was so dazzling she thought there could not be enough words for such color. She felt her first happiness in the country.”
Inspired by the writings of Lurana Davis Bowen and Thomas Jefferson Bowen, Elaine Neil Orr has crafted a finely written novel of a woman’s journey from a southern plantation to serve as an African missionary in 1840.
Reading this novel is like floating along a lazy river. All around you are fascinating sights and sounds, and the movement along the river is enjoyable and relaxing. I say this because it’s not a gripping, page-turner of a novel, but it does have a wonderful sense of place and time. There are certainly events which should jar us out of our cocoon, but I wasn’t terribly affected by the plight of the characters. What I did find, however, was an impressive display of history. It is also obvious that Orr has spent time in the area, and I did appreciate the many small details which made the experience come alive.
Lastly, the threads of this story come together in a marvelous way, bringing the book to a close. I especially recommend this for fans of historical fiction or for those who are interested in early African missionary work.
4 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2013