The Hidden Light of Northern Fires
When escaped slave, Joe Bell, collapses in her father’s barn, Mary Willis must ward off Confederate guerillas and spies, Joe’s vengeful owner, and even her own brother to help the handsome fugitive cross to freedom.
Mary has always been an outcast, an ...more
I love learning the seed of a story, the spark, the idea, the one thing that moves an author to write a story. Sometimes I come across this in an author interview but I like it best when it is told upfront at the beginning of the book, as it was in this case. That the author lived in the house where Mary Willis lived and that he felt he had to tell her story really drew me in . Even though, this is a fictionalized interpretation, I really appreciate that it is based on a real woman, a fervent ab ...more
$1000 REWARD. Joe Bell is a fugitive slave on the run....he didn't want to run....he didn't want to leave sister Alaura behind at Walnut Grove Plantation....but he had no choice....and Yates Bell wants him DEAD!
Mary Willis is a 23 year old university-educated strong-willed spinster who is bored with farm life....AND the local boys in Town Line, New York, but she soon finds purpose to her daily routine....a secret and dangerous new endeavor....helping runaway slaves. (no spoi...more
This story begins around the time of the hanging of abolitionist John ...more
Why can’t 4.5 be an option?
Daren Wang truly wowed me with his debut novel, The Hidden Light of Northern Fires . From the setting to the characters to the plot, I was mesmerized from the start. Before Daren Wang, I had never heard of Town Line, NY-- the only town north of the Mason Dixon Line to secede from the Union, during the Civil War. (It didn’t rejoin until 1946!) Enough of the history lesson…
“None have freedom until all do,” [Nathan Willis] said.
Yes, we are introd ...more
I confess that I also am always enthusiastic to learn of the genesis of certain books ...more
School educated Mary Willis has always been an outcast, an outspoken abolitionist woman in a town of bounty hunters and anti-Union farmers. Helping runaways is the only thing that makes her life in Town Line bearable.
The story is told from multiple perspectives and gave a good view of people and the political opinions of the time. I felt the story dragged in some places but overall a good read.
3.5☆ rounded up to 4☆
Wang's novel tells the fictionalized story of a town near the U.S./Canada border in New York that actually succeeded from the Union and didn't officially rejoin the U.S. until 1946. Most of the story is told from the point of view of Mary, the daughter of a wealthy farmer who helped found the town. Mary has been educated and strongly supports the abolitionist cause, which is an unpopular stance in her hometown. Mary involves ...more
The protagonist of the story, Mary, is the main catalyst here in the tale of a runaway slave, Joe Bell, whom she takes care of and gr ...more
I just don't love it. I can't tell you why, or give reasons. It boils down to this: I did not connect with the characters so I was always a bit removed from their troubles and woes.
Mary was probably my favorite char ...more
Mary Willis is a young girl returning home to Town Line, NY from college, looking to make a difference in the world. She gets involved with the Underground Railroad. The Willis farm is the last stop before Canada.
The Bell family from Harper's Ferry, W. Virginia are dedicated to the continuation of slavery, and they want their runaway slave Joe Bell back. Joe has found himself hiding out on the Willis farm. . . Son Ya ...more
What's great about this book is that not only do you get to know some amazing fictional characters and experience their interwoven stories, but you also learn some fascinating, and rarely discussed, non-fictional aspects of the Civil War. I had never read anything that discussed the Confederacy's plots and intrigues in the North--specifically in Buffalo, New York, across the border in Canada, and around Lake Erie. I knew nothing ...more
The characters are diverse, complex, and have interesting tales. War seems to have been portrayed realistically.
I was fortunate to read an advance copy - it will be released later this summer. I do hope that the final copy will be edited ...more
An outspoken abolitionist Mary Yates works hard to find freedom during the Civil War. Their small hamlet had seceded from the Union.
Mary risked her life, but stayed on the farm to help although she wanted her freedom too.
Mary's life takes on new meaning after she finds a buyer for her farm.
I was impressed with the prologue, where the author was inspired for this book by what he found in his own f ...more
This is an excellent Civil War historical novel, told from a very unique viewpoint. Daren Wang tells his story from the perspective of a farmer's daughter from Town Line in upstate New York, a slave fleeing his home and family near Harper's Ferry, and an escaped boy from the orphan ...more
If you love history , and are a civil War buff ,
This is for you ,it is a bit of a twist as it is about
A real person Mary Willis ,and her efforts to help .Don't miss this .
A great DEBUT novel! I read this EARC courtesy of Thos ...more
Joe Bell escapes from the plantation he worked on, fought across bitterly cold rivers to get to freedom, only to have it almost taken so close to his hiding place to get to freedom in Canada. Mary Willis is an outcast in ...more
Mary is just one of lots of great characters. The plot is predictab ...more
This story that takes place just before, during and immediately after the Civil War. The main family of this novel is the Willis family father: Nathan, daughter: Mary and son: Leander. The family lives on a farm near Town Line, NY. Mary is an abolitionist, and at the beginning of the book she nurses a runaway slave named Joe. Friends will betray friends, loyalties are questioned over and over, A country and it's people divided over what is right and what i ...more
As a public radio producer, he produced and or hosted several series including The Spoken Word, Porches: The South and Her Writers, Circle of Friends, Between the Lines, ArtVoice, and Atlanta Forum. His writing has appeared in Paste Magazine, Five Points Magazine, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, ...more