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The Candle Star (Divided Decade Collection #1)

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  236 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
After a tantrum, Emily Preston is shipped from her plantation home to her inn-keeping uncle in Detroit. There she meets Malachi, son of freed slaves, who challenges many ideas she grew up believing. But when Emily stumbles upon two runaways hidden in her uncle's barn, she finds that old ways die hard. And Mr. Burrows, the charming Southern slave catcher, is only yards away ...more
Paperback, 168 pages
Published April 2011 by Candle Star Press
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Sep 10, 2014 Hannah rated it really liked it
I was very impressed by the beginning of this book. What a relief to see bratty heroines described honestly by the author as brats---instead of being promoted as cute little beauties who deserve a good romance. ;) The author has a lot of ability. Her description of sets is light and casual---a rare thing in historical work--and her dialogue quite natural and individualized to each character.
The plot concerns a spoiled fourteen year old whose rich plantation owner parents send her to Detroit to
Amie Gaudet
Divided Decade Series - Book One

Author: Michele Isenhoff

Type of Book: Audiobook - Unabridged

Narrator: Fred Wolinsky

Length: 4 hours, 32 minutes

Genre: Historical Fiction

Release Date: April 30, 2015

Publisher: Michele Isenhoff

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

* I received a free copy of this audiobook from the narrator in exchange for an honest review.

Fourteen year old Emily Preston has grown up on a plantation in the South. Her family is wealthy and they own over 200 slaves.

She is a wild
R.A. White
Jan 14, 2015 R.A. White rated it it was amazing
I picked up this Young Adult novel (set back before slavery was abolished in the USA) for free when I was checking out some of the author's other books, even though I don't read historical fiction, and I'm so glad I did! I was wonderfully surprised to read such a professionally written and edited story from an indie author. It can be done, people!
The story progresses at a leisurely pace, about right for a southern belle, but the writing and characters kept me intrigued and I never once tired of
Jonne Adams
Feb 06, 2013 Jonne Adams rated it really liked it
An enlightening historical novel about a young southern girl who spends the summer with her uncle in the north and, shall we say, has the veil removed from her cherished and spoiled Southern way of life and the institutioin of slavery. She faces a delimma when she finds that her uncle is involved with "The Underground Railroad". This book is appropriate for younger people as well....perhaps upper grade school levels and beyond.
Jan 16, 2013 Stacie rated it really liked it
Shelves: series, audio-book
I got this book for free at and loved it so much I finished it in one day. I wish the other two books of this series were also on I will have to see if the library has them. Very enjoyable light read.
SUMMARY: Emily Preston has plans for her life; plans in direct oppostion to her parents' wishes. After a moment of high spirits - a tantrum her mother called it - she is shipped off to stay with her Uncle Isaac. But his Detroit hotel is nothing like the beautiful plantation she has always known.

In Detroit, Emily meets Malachi, a son of freed slaves who has grand schemes of his own. Their abrasive relationship gradually challenges many of the ideas Emily has grown up believing. But when she stumb
Vera Godley
May 16, 2012 Vera Godley rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: 8 years to adult, home & school libraries
As I began to read, The Candle Star by Michelle Isenhoff, I was again enthralled by her magnificent talent as a wordsmith. She has a real talent for stringing together words in beautiful patterns that capture the mind and reveal the essence of the story.

My thoughts on The Candle Star: This is a historical novel set immediately prior to the Civil War in the United States. Emily is a true Southern Belle accustomed to the luxuries of wealthy plantation life as the daughter of the house. She does, h
Anna Zollinger
Jan 20, 2013 Anna Zollinger rated it it was amazing
Surprisingly, largely historically accurate, and a truly enthralling read.

The book is a short and easy read. It has a very simplistic but heavily charged story that, while obviously geared for the younger end of young adult and pre-teen readers, I think would be highly enjoyable for all age ranges.

I wish there was more detail on Emily's character development and how her thoughts finally formed into acceptance of racial equality, I would have also liked to see what happened exactly when she final
Nov 19, 2013 Hyacinth rated it really liked it
Books about slavery always put me on edge. Our story is painful to hear and read and yet it is our history. But as I continued to read, I really began to get into the heart of the story. Emily was sent to her uncle because she was on the road to becoming incorrigible. Her Uncle Isaac, although he lost the 'family fortune' would hopefully be able to straighten her out. The story tells of her journey as a young woman and her change of heart at she stumbled upon something that challenges her way of ...more
Sandra Megyesi-hallas
Excellent story and historical significance for classrooms

This author has made her YA historical stories available for free, as far as she can control this, just to get these stories into the hands of schools. Personally, I think all schools should make this mandatory reading for all students.

I won't go over the story itself in any detail. Others have done that already. What is important is that this is an easy, interesting and FUN story. It moves along quickly as it follows a North Carolina spo
Haley Whitehall
I wanted to love this book, but I couldn't. The heroine is 14, but she acts more like 7 throughout much of the book. The little southern belle is so spoiled and ill-mannered that her parents send her to her uncle in Michigan. With heroine being a teenager I thought this book would be written a YA level, but it is clearly intended for a younger audience. I can overlook that. It was my fault for not clearly reading the product description. I don't want to give away any of the book's plot...but I l ...more
Mikey Brooks
Aug 04, 2015 Mikey Brooks rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Here are my answers to the questions ask by Audible when I reviewed this book:

If you could sum up The Candle Star in three words, what would they be?

Thought-provoking, entertaining, well-written

Who was your favorite character and why?

Emily Preston is the main character in this book and for the first few pages you want to pull her over your knee and give her a sound whooping (note: I do not condone spanking but this girl really needs one). She is one of those characters that you just down right h
Phyllis Freeman
Jun 03, 2015 Phyllis Freeman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Candle Star (Divided Decade Collection) by Michelle Isenhoff

Rich, spoiled Emily Preston lived in Charleston, South Carolina until her frustrated parents put her on a train to Detroit. Perhaps her uncle Isaac Milford could instill in her an appreciation for life, liberty, and her own potential.

With her racial prejudices, she was challenged by her new friend, who happened to be son to her uncle’s maid, a black boy, and quite insightful. He wanted to become a doctor to help his people and he wante
Cynthia Port
Sep 25, 2014 Cynthia Port rated it it was amazing
Most books about pre-civil war slavery take place in the South, but The Candle Star places you smack dab into downtown Detroit, giving us the experience from the more abolitionist North. Still, we view it through the eyes of a wealthy plantation belle, who was "exiled" there against her will by her parents. She is confronted daily with messages and experiences that conflict with everything she has been taught and previously exposed to regarding slavery and slaves. The author does a masterful job ...more
Barbara Ann
Apr 27, 2014 Barbara Ann rated it it was amazing
This is the first book in a trilogy examining the Civil War through the Underground railroad setting in Michigan in 1858. In this first volume, the protagonist is fourteen year old Emily whose petulant personality and insolent behavior has resulted in her parents’ shipping her off to stay with an uncle in Michigan. Emily has never been off the Ella Wood plantation in the Carolinas. She presumes her life will be much the same, and her faithful slave Zeke tries to make her comfortable.

Things turn
Sally Kruger
It is 1858 and young Emily Preston is headed to Detroit. Her unpleasant behavior and poor attitude have resulted in her parents' decision to send Emily to spend time with her mother's brother, Uncle Isaac.

Used to life on the plantation in Charleston and the attention of family-owned slaves, Emily is out of her element when she arrives in Detroit. Uncle Isaac owns and operates a hotel in the city. Emily is expected to attend school and lend a hand helping around the hotel. Dealing with the idea
Sep 21, 2014 Sam rated it it was amazing
Although this book seems to target the younger audience, I really enjoyed it. The research the author has done into the past shines through and it really felt like I was stepping back in time every occasion I picked up this story. I couldn't stand Emily for most of the book. I absolutely despised her, wanted to give her a good shake and a slap but that was part of the beauty of it. how often do you read a book where you actually can't stand the main character?! I thought that was done very well. ...more
The Candle Star by Michelle Isenhoff Set in the late 1850s, Southern Belle Emily Preston has been sent by her parents to live for a spell with her uncle Isaac Milford. She comes from a slave plantation in Carolina and she is in for some culture shock in Detroit, a land where slavery is not tolerated. Also, her uncle insists that she earn her keep and this means chores and attending school, things she did not have to do in Carolina.
This was a very interesting book. Most books I have read that are
Christine Roberts
Fourteen-year old Emily Preston has been banished from her plantation home in South Carolina to her Uncle's boarding house in Detroit. This change in housing and accommodations is nothing compared to the change of attitude of the people around her. While Emily is attempting to survive her exile in the North, she is also coming to learn about the differences and similarities of the persons around her. Until she learns these valuable lessons, Emily will stop at nothing to try and get back to South ...more
Sep 14, 2015 Teri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book in exchange for an honest review. This series begins during the end of slavery and is a coming of age and awareness of a southern bell. She visits the North and becomes aware of the unfairness of slavery going against all of the principals she was raised with she learns and recognizes the only difference is the color of skin not the mind. Although the books are not tied together to really be a series and are more stand-a-lone each story is well developed and the characters a ...more
Nov 03, 2015 Deedra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to the Audible version and do imagine that the regular book might have been better.Narrated by Fred Wolinsky,who has a cadence that is hard to understand.This book tells of a girl in civil war times who is a brat and is shipped to her Uncles plantation to learn some life lessons.She encounters slaves,slave holders and people who help with the Underground Railroad.Her life and opinions change as she learns new things.It is a story any 'tween' would like.Give them the paper copy though. ...more
Aug 14, 2014 Margaret rated it liked it
A simplistic historical fiction that had some shining moments, I especially appreciated how Emily opened her heart and eyes to the inhumanity of slavery.
Vik Arch
Jun 30, 2014 Vik Arch rated it it was amazing
Emily Preston comes from the family where everything is done by slaves. Her parents own one of the largest plantations on the South. She grew up to believe colored people are there to serve to pay of the roof and the food they are given.
But one day, after her tantrum, she was sent by her parents to her uncle, who lived in North.
She came there, ready to make her uncle regret she was sent to him.
The sympathy to colored people made her mad, until she became a friend with a colored person. Slowly,
Alison Jack
Feb 12, 2015 Alison Jack rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
What an amazing book. In 1858, headstrong teenage Southern belle Emily is sent from her father's plantation in the South to live with her uncle in Detroit. At first reluctant to let go of the ideals with which she's grown up, Emily gradually realises the beauty and worth of every human being, whatever their colour or status in society. This historical tale of loyalty, friendship and determination is beautifully written. Often moving, sometimes breathlessly exciting, it's left me wanting more. In ...more
Julie Powell
Jan 05, 2015 Julie Powell rated it it was amazing
A superbly written story about a young girl called Emily and yet it is about so much more. The author uses Emily to highlight the divisions between the north and south in regard to slavery in the mid 19th century, just before the Civil War, demonstrating many points of view and prejudices.

It is difficult to say too much, as I don't give spoilers, but will say that this historical novel has all the right ingredients - injustice, wonderful characters (both good and bad) and adventure - to make thi
Jun 16, 2015 Patsy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story is about slaves before the Civil War, a young Southern Bell, Emily Preston went to visit her Uncle in the North. Emily went into the barn where her trunk was stored and accidentally came across two runaway slave children hiding under the hay. Her Uncle was trying to help them get further north to freedom. Emily wanted to go with her uncle to help him, he explained that this was a secret, he was helping slaves to flee up north to freedom using the underground railroad.

I enjoyed the boo
Excellent story of 14 yr old Emily, a spoiled Southern Belle. This book is written for 10+ yr olds, but was interesting enough to keep me reading. Emily was sent to live with her uncle in Detroit for awhile. There she experiences a lot that helps her grow, & change her perspective on several things. I had several things I really liked; Malachi's persistent friendship, Julia's reluctant help, Shannon's forgiving love & Isaac consistent loving discipline. Isaac also knew when and how to gi ...more
Erik This Kid Reviews Books
Feb 01, 2012 Erik This Kid Reviews Books rated it it was amazing
Emily was a Southern girl who thought slaves working on he family’s plantation was how things should be. Emily LOVED living on the wonderful cotton plantation and was happy there. When her parents decide to send her to her Uncle’s place in Detroit, Michigan for a holiday, she was FURIOUS! (Actually, she got in trouble for her temper and her parents thought her Uncle Isaac would teach her to be disciplined). In Detroit, Emily not only had to WORK in her uncle’s hotel, but she had to work with fre ...more
Courtney Cole
Aug 15, 2011 Courtney Cole rated it it was amazing
My daughter read and loved The Candle Star by Michelle Isenhoff. This is her review:

The Candle Star is set back in the slave days and is about a 12-year old girl, Emily Preston, who lives on a plantation in South Carolina, but whose parents send her to stay with her uncle in Detroit. Apparently, her parents think that she could use an attitude adjustment and that her uncle could maybe help with that. And her parents are right. Emily is sarcastic and self-important. When she first arrives at her
Jun 21, 2016 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Emily Preston is sent from her South Carolina plantation in the mid-1800s to live with her uncle in Detroit to help her learn to grow up. She hates this move and attempts to force her uncle to send her home. Her misdeeds forces her uncle's hand and she soon finds herself attending a local school where her Southern beliefs are challenged. She hestitantly befriends Malachi, a free black young man and begins the process of gaining a news perspective on the real meaning of "freedom."
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MICHELLE ISENHOFF writes for teens, tweens, and kids as old as 91. Her work has been reader-nominated for a Cybils Award, the Great Michigan Read, and the Maine Student Book Award. She also placed as a finalist in the young adult category of the Kindle Book Review Book Awards. A former teacher and current homeschooler, Michelle has been lauded by the education community for the literary quality of ...more
More about Michelle Isenhoff...

Other Books in the Series

Divided Decade Collection (3 books)
  • Blood of Pioneers (Divided Decade Collection)
  • Beneath the Slashings (Divided Decade Collection)

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