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Touched with Fire

(The Fire Trilogy #1)

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  176 ratings  ·  39 reviews
Touched with Fire is inspired by the true story of Ellen Craft, an escaped slave determined to rescue her still enslaved husband. Ellie disguises herself as a man to join the Union Army, becoming a part of a watershed moment in American history
Kindle Edition, 316 pages
Published June 25th 2013 by Christopher Datta (first published June 1st 2013)
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3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  176 ratings  ·  39 reviews

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I have mixed feelings about this audiobook. I am so glad the author took on the story of Ellie Craft and weaved an incredible story of heroism. But that is also part of the problem for me, parts of it were just that, unbelievable. The first part of this book was focused on Ellie as a young slave girl trying to navigate and come to terms with where she fit in with her family and community. The second part of the book was so heavy on war facts. I didn’t quite enjoy the second part as much because ...more
Dan Santos
Dec 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read "Uncle Tom's Cabin" when I was nine. The thing is, we were expats in a foreign country and I read it in Spanish. For the child in me, it was an emotional awakening. Up until that time, I knew precious little about slavery. Reading about it, my heart ached and I often fell asleep crying, holding the book.

When we returned home, I read it again; this time in English. It wasn't the same. Maybe it wasn't the same because I was already familiar with the plot; but in my heart of hearts I believe
I won this book in a giveaway from the Historical Fictionistas.

3.5 stars, but I'll round it up to 4 in this case (I'm usually a round-down-er).

I feel like this book has two parts, the first half is 3 stars, and the last half is a solid 4 stars.

The first half of the book is interesting in that it is based on the true story of two slaves, Ellen and William Craft. I like stories that are based in truth, but the first half of the book is very simply written, almost verging on YA. The portrayal of
Jul 21, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: incomplete-reads
Although the writing style is really good, I find there is too much fiction in this novel that is inspired by the life of Ellen Craft. When reading a book based on, or inspired by, a persons life the major historical details should not be altered. The author does detail this at the end of the book but by the time you have completed the book the misrepresentation has already been done.

When this amount of historical fact is altered I feel the book should not be classified as historical fiction. I
Benjamin Thomas
Boy this is one of the hardest ratings I’ve ever had to decide upon for a book review. Part of me wants to award 4 stars and part of me wants to penalize it with a single star.

Allow me to explain.

This book is presented as an historical novel “inspired by the true story of Ellen Craft” as it says right there on the cover. Ellen Craft, for those that don’t know, has a fantastic real life story: Ellen and William Craft were slaves from Macon, Georgia who escaped to the North in December 1848 by tra
I received this book as a goodreads First Reads giveaway.

Based on a true character, Touched with Fire is the story of Ellen Craft, a woman born in Macon, Georgia to a slave mother and her owner. Despite her white appearance and the fact that everyone knew her parentage, she was nevertheless raised in the family household as a slave, waiting on her half-sisters, and eventually given to one of them as a wedding present. Determined never to marry or have children that would also be slaves, she deve
Viviane Crystal
Jun 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ellie is a white woman of African-American and white descent. But all that matters in her Georgia home is that she remember her place as a slave. Her white father never admits her forced himself on her mother and never feels he has any duty to acknowledge his daughter, let alone treat her decently as any father should. She is constantly threatened by the leering looks of her half-sister’s husband, a minister and more men without any morals.
This is the world of Southern slavery. One may decry the
Jul 15, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2014
I had a hard time selecting the rating for this book. The book was so good and so interesting until I got to the authors notes at the end and realized that once you get past part 1 the only thing "true" about this book is the name of the character. The cover clearly states "based on the true story of Ellen Craft" and that couldn't be further from the truth. I read this book amazed at the story only to feel duped at the end when the author finally let me in that it wasn't really true. If you go i ...more
Feb 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a very interesting and enjoyable read.Ellie craft was a slave.She was the daughter of a white master and black slave.She had white skin.She passed for a white plantation owner to sneak her husband and her self out of the south.With many twists and turns in this imagined rendition of their life,the story has a lot of adventure.It made me curious abut the real people.Hugh Harper was a fine narrator.I was given this book free by the author,narrator or publisher.
Feb 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this historical fiction about a real female slave who was the daughter of the master of the plantation. I learned so much about the civil war and the variety motivations for fighting in the war on both sides. Interesting author background
Apr 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
It isn’t often that I know, going into writing a review, that I will not be able to convince enough people that this is a must-read: for the writing, the history and the captivating characters that will be found within. Christopher Datta has used extensive research and historical facts to present a story that seamlessly mixes fact and fiction to reveal a life that should be a household name, but was sadly lost in obscurity.

Ellen Craft was born a slave, the product of a rape of her mother by the
Dec 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
THIS BOOK. It's hard to describe my reaction to this book, because it had parts that were AMAZING and parts that were extremely lackluster. Where to even begin? Okay. It describes itself as "inspired by the true story of Ellen Craft". In actual history, Ellen Craft was a light-skinned slave in 1840s Georgia, who disguised herself as a white man and, along with her darker husband William, escaped to the North. They then moved to England to avoid being recaptured and wrote a book about their lives ...more
Apr 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a tremendously amazing story for all of you who are History lovers! Christopher Datta does an outstanding job in bringing the horrible act of slavery and the Civil War to life... too vivid.

Based on the true story of Ellen Craft makes it even more interesting. Read the story to discover how much is accurate...even better, read my Interview with Christopher Datta on and discover much more about this story and the outstanding author.

Ellie was raised a slave by h
Ruth Hill
Apr 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Historical novels based on the Civil War flood the market, but in spite of that, it seems that it is still an often misunderstood time period in U.S. history. Unfortunately, most Civil War novels don't often contribute to the overall discussion and understanding of this time period. This book does not fall into that category! It is fresh, well-written, and painstakingly researched. From the first page, I was immersed in this book. I was even more intrigued when I discovered this was inspired by ...more
Apr 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Read the full review at The Book Club

I found this story very unusual. It is not only a story of slavery and desperation but also of bravery. To survive in the US Army dressed as a man, and her colleagues never came to know that she was a woman is itself a big feat. There are many nail biting instances in the story. Every moment I thought that now she will be caught – she rose like the Phoenix from the ashes and faced a new challenge with equal boldness. El
Anna Tan
Mar 25, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: e-books, review-copy
I found Touched With Fire an interesting read. I don't read much historical fiction and was a little disappointed when I found out that the second half of the book was entirely fictional, although it was still based on real life events that happened to other people (just not the Crafts). The book was on a whole a breeze to read through. I suppose, being far removed from the Civil War or anything American (other than what I read), I wouldn't be the best person to give comments about authenticity ...more
Jul 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a true story of Ellen Craft until about 2/3 of the book, then the author changes history at the end of the book with a fiction story. Not so good.

The story is about a plantation owner that has sex with a black slave, the child that is conceived is born a white girl named Ellie but is still a slave, she falls in love with a black slave man named William Craft and marriages him. The two tries to escape slavery and goes North. Ellie/Eli poses as a white man Eli taking her slave Billy (which
Margaret Tidwell
Apr 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review-books
From the minute I started this book right up until the end of the book. I haven't read a book like this before in the aspect that it is from the slaves point of view and it was an amazing change in perspective for me. I also can't wait to check out more books by him. I loved how Ellen was white but because of her mother she was treated as a slave. The one part this sticks out to me was when there was a woman visiting from the north and she didn't understand why Ellen was treated as she was even ...more
Ellen (Ellie) Craft is the illegitimate daughter of a wealthy plantation owner and a house servant. Ellie serves in her father’s household but is not acknowledged as a daughter or sister. Unfortunately for Ellie, she is also not accepted by the other slaves in the community as they think she looks down on them. Ellie is distant, but not for the reasons people think.

I immediately felt for Ellie. She was a resolved, hardened woman, but completely and utterly alone. Tormented from every angle, she
Robert Gordon
Apr 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book for free from a goodreads giveaway. Although I am a fan of historical novels, when I started reading this I thought there was going to be too much of a romance element to the story for my liking. This was not the case as the story concentrated more on the characters themselves rather than the romantic links between them. It is set in civil war era America and tells the story of a slave girl and her escape from captivity. Although based on a real person, the author has combin ...more

Touched With Fire
: Christopher Datta

I choose to treat this as totally a historical fiction even if some of the characters were real. Ellie/ Eli Craft an escaped light skinned slave escaped the south and spends years trying to rescue her husband William. The story follows as she transforms to Eli a white planter fighting for the north. It gives the listener an inside view of the horror of the Civil War.

The narration was well done.The characters were well portrayed by Hugh Harper.

"I was voluntari
Nov 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well written, captivating and capture's the women's point of view during that period of time before and during the Civil War. I love history/historical nonfiction books and this story lives up to that grouping. There were parts of the story that just make you cringe when you think of how the slaves and the women(daughters, wives) were treated. Wonderful story.
Patricia Gilliam
I won a paperback edition in a contest and read it in two sittings. Great job on character development and setting, and the action and pacing builds over the course of the book. I would read and buy other books by this author and hope he does more with this genre. I think it would be great reading for young adult/high school level history classes, too.
Aug 25, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
Received this book from goodreads! Thank you. I enjoyed the book. The war scenes were well done, I learned more about the battles, etc. Ellie or Elijah was well developed, and her attitude is understood. I was very surprised, and disappointed when reading the authors notes at the end. Not to give a spoiler, I wasn't expecting that.
Jul 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a terrific read that goes far, via fiction, encapsulating the feelings of North and South on the slavery issue during the Civil War. This is more than a book describing war and race. It is a well written, thought provoking piece of a hard to put down novel. It is based on a true character with significant liberty in telling her story. I enjoyed both the history and the fiction.
Aug 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book as fiction as well as the historical aspect. When reading "historical fiction" you can't expect it to be completely, historically accurate. I now want to read the real story of Ellen and William. Kudos to the author for explaining where historical met fiction.
Barbara Wambolt
t was a good read. I would have liked to read more of Ellen Crafts personal journey but all in all I did enjoy it. I enjoyed the Biblical references throughout the book and
the important part it played in the slaves lives to have the foundation of God to hang onto in moments of despair.
Pauline Easley
The story was based on real people, however the author leads readers through a different version of events instead of writing a biography. The events were somewhat unbelievable at times but overall it was decent fiction.
Sep 24, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting, sometimes agonizing story about a woman who escaped from slavery in Macon, Georgia, dressed as a man to hide in plain view, and fought in the Union Army to rescue her husband, the book is a fictionalized account of a real person.
Jul 04, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book a lot and was prepared to rate it 5 stars until I got to the end where author explained how much of the story he changed. It did introduce me to the story of William and Ellen Craft so I read William Craft's account - Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom.
« previous 1 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Historical Fictio...: Historical Fiction -- How much fiction is too much fiction? 16 79 Sep 07, 2013 01:22AM  
Goodreads Librari...: e-book 4 166 Jul 25, 2013 02:13PM  
Our History: American Civil War 1 17 Jul 08, 2013 12:47PM  
US Civil War fiction: Women in Combat 1 8 Jul 08, 2013 12:36PM  
Womankind Worldwi...: Women Fighting for Freedom 1 15 Jul 08, 2013 12:11PM  

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Debut author CHRISTOPHER DATTA is no stranger to civil conflict or the still-extant scourge of slavery. Most recently the acting ambassador to the Republic of South Sudan where he helped end a war in April of 2012, he has spent a distinguished career moving from one strife-torn country to another, including Lebanon, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. A lifelong student of the American Civil War, h ...more

Other books in the series

The Fire Trilogy (2 books)
  • Fire and Dust (The Fire Trilogy #2)