Friday, November 21, 2014

Silent We Stood by Henry Chappell



Book Synopsis

2014 Western Writers of America Spur Award Winner, Best Western Historical Novel

On July 8, 1860, Dallas, Texas burned. Three slaves were accused of arson and hanged without a trial. Today, most historians attribute the fire to carelessness.

Texas was the darkest corner of the Old South, too remote and violent for even the bravest abolitionists. Yet North Texas newspapers commonly reported runaway slaves, and travelers in South Texas wrote of fugitives heading to Mexico.

Perhaps a few prominent people were all too happy to call the fire an accident.

Silent We Stood weaves the tale of a small band of abolitionists working in secrecy within Dallas’s close-knit society. There’s Joseph Shaw, an undertaker and underground railroad veteran with a shameful secret; Ig Bodeker, a charismatic, melancholic preacher; Rachel Bodeker, a fierce abolitionist, Ig’s wife, and Joseph Shaw’s lover; Rebekah, a freed slave who’ll sacrifice everything for the cause; Samuel Smith, a crypto-freedman whose love for Rebekah exacts a terrible cost; and, towering above them all, a near-mythical one-armed runaway who haunts area slavers and brings hope to those dreaming of freedom.

With war looming and lives hanging in the balance, ideals must be weighed against friendship and love, and brutal decisions yield secrets that must be taken to the grave.

Review
by

From the moment I began reading this book, I clearly understood why it won such a prestigious award. Author Henry Chappell has taken historical fact and weaved it into a fictionalized storyline that grips from first page to last. What makes this book special is not only the fascinating historical details, but how the characters are so real, so compelling, so believable! What a wonderful way to learn about this tumultuous era in Amercan history. It is an honest, intense, and vivid depiction of life as it was for slaves and slave holders before the civil war. I definitely recommend this book to everyone! It won the award for very good reason.