I was afraid this book would go down the path of so many other historical novels where the tone tends to be preachy or worse white-washed. This novel, thankfully, is none of that. This is the story of Paul Logan, a son of a former slave and white man.
This story isn't simply about life after the Civil War and the racial conflicts that arose. This is Paul Logan's story and the many challenges he faced in order to gain personal achievement. Taylor did a wonderful job of weaving in historical accuracy with compassion and grace. There are times you will cringe when you read about how Caucasians treated all minorities in general, be they biracial or otherwise. There are racial slurs, but like the author explained, within its context, the words were needed to preserve what truly was a horrifying time in American history.
Paul Logan's story begins from the time he is a boy and is bullied by a young black boy named Mitchell, who would later on become a dear friend. There are terrible lessons to be learned about what it meant to be black and the obstacles and lack of opportunities they faced. Taylor does not downplay the random violence that many black people faced and the racial injustices they faced collectively.
Once Paul Logan becomes an adult you are pained to learn that he has learned not to trust white men and not to become beholden to them even if they offer their help. It's a horrible lesson he had to learn, with a bittersweet background that led him to that particular personal philosophy.
There is romance in the book, though sweet and short.
Paul Logan's journey was transformational; the challenges he went through in order to achieve his goal, land in this instance, made the overall reading experience enjoyable and the ending was absolutely perfect. It was not a sugary sweet "happily ever after," and once you learn how much Taylor extracted from her family history to write this novel the characters and story become that much more alive and powerful.