From Publishers Weekly
Miller, coauthor with Tracie Peterson of the popular Bells of Lowell series, offers a historical novel all her own. In 1877 Kansas, prospectors have developed two new towns: Nicodemus is to be settled by former slaves, and Hill City will be inhabited by white folks. The Harban family, hard-working African-Americans, are disappointed when they arrive in Nicodemus and find that it boasts only "wretched" lean-tos and eight small campsites. Similarly, Samuel Boyle, a white physician from Kentucky, moves his family to Hill City and is stunned when he finds that the supposed "town" is really just "a few houses and several sad-looking buildings." The womenfolk, especially, yearn for the comforts of civilization, and a few unmarried gals pine for beaux they left behind. But sustained by a strong work ethic and a firm faith in God, the pioneers begin to settle into their new environment. Boyle finds that his medical services are badly needed in Nicodemus, and as he shuttles between the two towns, he and his family begin to develop relationships with some of the black settlers. The novel has its share of implausible coincidences (apparently the sine qua non of CBA historical fiction), but these usher the story to its climax and a reasonably satisfying conclusion. (July)
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Miller's name is familiar to Christian fiction readers as Tracie Peterson's collaborator in the Bells of Lowell series. Here she begins her own series, called Freedom's Path, about pioneers in Kansas in the late 1870s. The white community of Hill City is represented by Dr. Samuel Boyle, who is surprised at the primitive conditions he finds there but remains determined to soldier on. More interestingly, because it has rarely been treated in fiction, Miller portrays the town of Nicodemus, settled by ex-slaves called Exodusters. There are the usual loves and losses typical of romantic historicals here, the usual overwrought action, the usual rewards for faith and hard work. But Miller's original material points to a superior series.
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