A Slave to Shadows by Naomi Finley

Synopsis: In 1850 Charleston, South Carolina, brutality and cruelty simmer just under the genteel surface of Southern society. In an era where ladies are considered mere property, beautiful and headstrong Willow Hendricks’ father has filled her life with turmoil, secrets, and lies.Her father rules her life until she finds a kindred spirit in spunky, outspoken Whitney Barry, a northerner from Boston. Together these Charleston belles are driven to take control of their own lives—and they are plunged into fear and chaos in their quest to fight for the rights of slaves. Against all odds, these feisty women fight to secure freedom and equality for those made powerless and persecuted by a supposedly superior race.Only when they’ve lost it all do they find a new beginning.

A Slave of the Shadows is the story of a young woman in the South who wants to make a difference in the lives of slaves. The characters are robust and lively. Willow is beautiful, sassy and sometimes naïve. Whitney is funny, sarcastic and a true partner in crime for Willow. Charles appears to be a hard man but is actually very loving and soft-hearted. Mary Grace is a pretty, talented mulatto who grows up with Willow. I liked how the author describes the ever ready tension between Willow and Bowden.

The story pace is steady and kept my interest throughout. The story changes perspective from Willow’s to other characters sometimes in 1st person and others in 3rd person. My only complaint is that the author sometimes missed designating when she switched from another character back to Willow. It would briefly cause me to be confused until I realized through the content that the character perspective had changed again. I couldn’t imagine living during that time period where as a woman or person of color you were treated as property and had no rights. With the author’s vivid descriptions it is easy to see how the slave trade prevailed so long with the antagonistic supporters who were willing to murder a dissenter and a dissenter’s family. I look forward to finding out what happens in the sequel!

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