“Red Sky Over America” by Tamera Lynn Kraft is a novel written about the pre-Civil war era and the abolitionists helping runaway slaves through the Underground Railroad. This book is the first in the series Ladies of Oberlin. Oberlin College in Ohio had a reputation as a center for abolitionist activities and many of the college’s presidents embraced these efforts. Oberlin was a key stop along the Underground Railroad, an informal network of back-road routes and safe houses used to harbor escaped slaves seeking freedom in the Northers states and Canada.
America Leighton was a student at Oberlin seeking to become a missionary to China. Her slave-owning father Colonel Leighton was not keen on her choice of livelihood and requested her return to Kentucky for the Christmas break. She was afraid that once she returned home, he would prevent her from returning to Oberlin for her last year of schooling. Since she was also an abolitionist, she feared that her desire to persuade her father to free his slaves and hire them with a living wage would result with his wrath.
William, a classmate of America’s is destined to become a preacher and has also come to Kentucky, but to preach abolition in the community churches. Neither America nor William is well received in the slave-holding state of Kentucky. It is very fascinating to read about conditions that prevailed in slave-holding areas before the Civil War. It is also rewarding to read how many citizens braved the cruelty of some who did not believe as they did.
I really liked reading this story. I can’t say that I enjoyed reading of the harsh treatment of both slaves and abolitionists alike, but this book served as a reminder of what our country struggled with so many years ago.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Desert Breeze publishing through LitFusePublicity.com. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.