Tuesday, April 21, 2009

William Henry is a Fine Name

I recently had the opportunity to review author Cathy Gohlke's book, William Henry is a Fine Name. Thought you might like to read the review below. Pick up a copy and read it. You won't regret it! :)

Review – William Henry is a Fine Name
Author Cathy Gohlke

Genre – Historical Fiction
Age – YA- Adult
Notes – 2007 Christy Award
Publisher – Moody Press

Set in Maryland prior to the Civil War, this coming of age tale of thirteen-year-old Robert Glover is packed with action, adventure, laughter, and tears. We join Robert and his family at their home in Elkton, Maryland, where his father, Charles, works as overseer on a Quaker farm. Mr. Heath, Charles’ employer, freed his slaves, and now pays them to work the land alongside Charles and Robert. Robert’s mother Caroline hails from a prominent slave holding family in North Carolina, and loyalties are challenged when The Underground Railroad is nearly discovered in Robert’s area.

Many secrets are revealed the summer Robert turns thirteen, including the fact that Mr. Heath and Robert’s father work with The Underground Railroad. William Henry, son of freed slaves that work for Mr. Heath, is Robert’s best friend. Robert and William Henry grew up together, but until that summer, William Henry has a better idea than Robert of why skin color matters.

Robert also meets his North Carolina relatives that year, which further clarifies his growing convictions concerning slavery. Will Robert step up and fill the shoes his Grandfather wants him to fill as sole heir of the North Carolina family plantation? Or will Robert join his father in the Underground Railroad?

Cathy Gohlke paints an inspiring and realistic portrait of life just prior to the Civil War. Robert’s story serves to richly illuminate the past while entertaining the reader. The book’s informative and entertaining value will appeal to ages 12-100. It would also be a wonderful teaching tool for those studying American history. This book is a marvelous testimony to the genre of historical fiction. In my opinion, this book is a winner!

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