Sweeter Than Birdsong, by Rosslyn Elliott

book coverMusic offers Kate sweet refuge from her troubles . . . but real freedom is sweeter.

In Westerville, Ohio, 1855, Kate Winter’s dreams are almost within reach. As the first woman to graduate from Otterbein College, she’ll be guaranteed her deepest wish: escape from the dark secret haunting her family. But with her mother determined to marry her off to a wealthy man, Kate must face reality. She has to run. Now. And she has the perfect plan. Join the upcoming musical performance—and use it to mask her flight.

Ben Hanby, Otterbein College’s musical genius, sees Kate Winter as an enigmatic creature, notable for her beauty, yet painfully shy. Then he hears her sing—and the glory of her voice moves him as never before. He determines to cast her in his musical and uncover the mystery that is Kate. Still, he must keep his own secret to himself. Not even this intriguing woman can know that his passionate faith is driving him to aid fugitives on the Underground Railroad.

A terrifying accident brings Kate and Ben together, but threatens to shatter both their secrets and their dreams. Kate can no longer deny the need to find her courage—and her voice—if she is to sing a new song for their future.

A stirring novel of hope and faith inspired by real events—from the author of Fairer than Morning, winner of the 2011 Laurel Award.

Up on the housetop, click, click, click. Down thru the chimney with good Saint Nick.” No, this isn’t a novel about Christmas or Santa Claus. But it is about the author of this well-known Christmas tune, Benjamin Hanby, who is more known for his abolitionist and Underground Railroad activities in Ohio. He was also the son of Will Hanby, one of the main characters in Elliott’s first novel, Fairer Than Morning.

I found this book slow to get going at first; the narrative about the musicale didn’t interest me and some of the minor characters were not at all likeable. I also wondered why a well brought up woman of society such as Kate hardly spoke. The pace picked up, however, with the introduction of the main abolitionist scenes as Kate got involved with the Underground Railroad. Elliott’s writing well describes the dangers of helping slaves escape to the north, as well as the mixed emotions of joy and pain depending on whether or not the attempt was successful.

Ben and Kate’s relationship moved at a pace unfamiliar to me, but I could feel how torn Kate was between being with Ben and obeying her mother. At first, her mother doesn’t come across as much of a sympathetic character, but when her motives are revealed toward the end of the book, I understood why she behaved in the manner she did.

If you enjoy historical novels based on real life events and persons, I heartily recommend Sweeter Than Birdsong. I also suggest reading Fairer Than Morning, which is the first in The Saddler’s Legacy series.

Sweeter Than Birdsong will be released on 07 February 2012. You can pre-order it from any of the online stores below.

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Page Count: 400

Publication Date: 07 February 2012

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I received my free copy of Sweeter Than Birdsong from Thomas Nelson in exchange for an honest review.

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