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Trouble the Water

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3.85  ·  Rating details ·  2,163 ratings  ·  239 reviews
Abigail Milton was born into the British middle class, but her family has landed in unthinkable debt. To ease their burdens, Abby’s parents send her to America to live off the charity of their old friend, Douglas Elling. When she arrives in Charleston at the age of seventeen, Abigail discovers that the man her parents raved about is a disagreeable widower who wants little ...more
Kindle Edition, 353 pages
Published May 8th 2018 by SparkPress
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Average rating 3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,163 ratings  ·  239 reviews


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Angela M
Apr 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars.


1840’s Charleston, SC, slavery and the Underground Railroad, when abolitionist sentiments and actions can destroy your family. 1840’s England when a change in economic situation can change the life of a middle class family forcing them to send their 17 year old daughter to a place of safety with a friend in Charleston. There is hardship and despicable treatment and loss. Two people whose lives have not been easy will change each other’s lives. This is a love story, but I gradually fo
...more
Suzanne Leopold (Suzy Approved Book Reviews)
Seventeen-year-old Abigail Milton is sent from England to live with family friend Douglas Elling in Charleston. Abby’s family is struggling financially and they hope that she will benefit from living in an upper-class home. Douglas is a widower who runs a shipping company and his role as an abolitionist has made him a loner in the pre-civil war South. He introduces Abby to a different society full of wealth & debutante balls.

Douglas does little to help Abby acclimate to her new surroundings. He
...more
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Jun 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Abigail Milton was living in England when her previously middle class family found itself in huge debt. To ameliorate things, they sent Abby to live in America. There, she’ll live with a family friend, Douglas Elling, in Charleston.

Elling is a widower with a foul temperament, but luckily Abby is given to a governess where she is mostly left alone. One day, Abby finds out that Elling is going to assist in the escape of a local slave.

Abby attempts to find out more about how Douglas has been invo
...more
Deanne Patterson
1840's Charleston, South Carolina. This is a new to me publisher,SparkPress and I must say I am very impressed with this historical fiction book they have published . I am open to reading more by this publisher. The cover is the book is very eye catching.
Abigail Milton (Abby) is from a middle class British family but when finances become an issue she is sent to America to live off the charity of their old friend, Douglas Elling. Very unsure of herself and not sure what to do with her time Abby
...more
Joanna Loves Reading
May 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed, arc, hr
This book started on a gut-wrenchingly vivid note, but it ultimately fell flat for me. Early on, I thought I would not be able to read it. I thought it was too heavy of a subject matter, but it didn't end up dwelling on any aspect for too long. The story was told from multiple characters’ perspectives and takes place primarily in Charleston, South Carolina. I would say there were three main characters. Douglas, a successful businessman in shipping, Abby, his temporary ward, and Clover, a pregnan ...more
Heather
Jun 28, 2018 rated it liked it
There’s promise in this book, but it badly needs a better editor. The two storylines have only marginal cross over. The author totally abandons the story of Clover, a slave escaping on the Underground Railroad, for most of the last 1/3 of the book. Then, just as the main storyline is wrapping up in a pleasing fashion, she yanks the rug out from under readers hoping for a romantic reunion scene by abruptly switching gears to a strange epilogue from Clover’s point of view.
There are many tantalizin
...more
Laura • lauralovestoread
May 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
“𝚈𝚘𝚞 𝚐𝚘𝚝 𝚝𝚘 𝚝𝚛𝚘𝚞𝚋𝚕𝚎 𝚝𝚑𝚊𝚝 𝚠𝚊𝚝𝚎𝚛, 𝚝𝚛𝚘𝚞𝚋𝚕𝚎 𝚒𝚝 𝚞𝚗𝚝𝚒𝚕 𝚝𝚑𝚎𝚛𝚎’𝚜 𝚛𝚒𝚙𝚙𝚕𝚎𝚜, 𝚞𝚗𝚝𝚒𝚕 𝚝𝚑𝚎𝚛𝚎’𝚜 𝚠𝚊𝚟𝚎𝚜.”

Trouble the Water takes you back in time to Charleston, South Carolina during the 1800’s, before the Civil War. Seventeen-year-old Abbigail Milton has arrived from England to stay with Douglas Elling, a friend of her parents who have recently landed in unthinkable debt.

Abby is disgusted by her new guardian as she meets Douglas, but first impressions aren’t always what they first appear. When Abby overhears him
...more
Jenny Q
I was excited for this based on all the glowing reviews, but unfortunately I only made it to the halfway point and just didn't have any interest in continuing. I found Abby immature and the inclusion of a debutante's POV and the machinations of her female relatives irksome. Fairly predictable and stereotypical. I just wasn't invested enough to keep reading.
mindful.librarian ☀️
Thanks to BookSparks for the free review copy of this book as a part of #SRC2018!

I read this entire book in one day, and thoroughly enjoyed this historical romance set in 1840's Charleston, SC. The anti-slavery and Underground Railroad storyline was such a welcome one, and I definitely learned a lot about the slave trade. The only fault I can find is that I wish the book had been longer, but I'll hold out hope that it will be the first in a series.
Tammy
May 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Trouble the Water is an intriguing debut novel! Poverty stricken Abby is sent to America by her parents to live as the ward of wealthy fellow Englishman, Douglas. As Abby struggles to adjust to her new life in America, she discovers a secret of her guardian. I was pulled in from the first page by Abby's story. Jacqueline Friedland expertly weaves Charleston's society, the Underground Railroad and romance. I can't wait to read her next book!
Heather~ Nature.books.and.coffee
This book is a historical fiction novel taking place in the 1800s. It takes us to Charleston SC, where Abby Milton, who is from England goes to stay with a friend of her families, Douglas Eling. He is a widower, and offered to take her in, as a way to help out her family who has fallen into debt. At first Abby is not fond of Douglas. He leaves her in the care of the governess, who also cared for his daughter, and he seems angry. Over time, she learns there is much more to him. She learns of Doug ...more
Tina
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this so much! Simple writing and accessible historical fiction. I tend to get bogged down if an author gets too flowery with their writing, so I appreciated the straightforward manner in which Friedland writes. This is totally outside my comfort zone, but I found myself turning the pages and racing to the end like I would any thriller. Loved the characters and the omnipresent narration. This is Southern Historical Fiction/ romance wrapped up in neat packaging. I also really appreciated t ...more
Sue
This well researched historical fiction novel is a debut for the author. She did a fantastic job of creating very real characters in the historical setting of Charleston, SC, twenty years before the civil war.

Abigail was born into the middle class in England but when her family fell on hard times they decided to send her to Charleston to live with an old friend, Douglas. Because she was only 17, Douglas hired a governess to teach her in both book learning and how to be a proper young lady in Ch
...more
Michele
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! It's a cross between Jane Eyre and The Underground Railroad. It's a well researched book with a really interesting story. I started it on vacation and read it straight through. You'll root for the heroine and for some of the ancillary characters. Don't miss it!
Linda Zagon
Mar 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Kudos to Jacqueline Friedland , Author of “Trouble the Water” for writing such an intriguing, intense, captivating, and riveting novel. I love the vivid descriptions of the times, the landscape and colorful cast of characters. The Genres for this novel are Historical Fiction, Fiction, with an essence of Romantic Adventure. The timeline for the story is about twenty years before the Civil War, taking place in Charleston, and England. The story centers around the time of American Slavery, the earl ...more
Kayla
I was expecting this book to be heavier in history and lighter on romance, but it was the other way around. The plot and characters felt somewhat under-developed, and I didn’t think some of the characters’ actions were realistic. I also didn’t like the part of the plot that was hinting about Abby being abused. I decided to move on to another Georgette Heyer book instead of finishing this one.
Gaele
Surprisingly fast paced despite the very plot-heavy themes with multiple challenges, growth and an overlay of tension that keeps readers flipping pages, this was a unique presentation that brought together historic events, challenges and choices in ways not before seen. Abigail Milton is a British girl, born to the middle class in the 1800’s. Her family has encountered difficulties and debts, and since she is ‘of that age’ it is time to prevail on a family friend in Charleston to take her on. Sh ...more
Melissa
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I will be honest, I'm not much into stories about slavery. However, The Invention of Wings changed that for me and set me on the path to be less hesitant about reading others. So when Jacqueline Friedland's debut came along, I was ready for it. While I was initially intimidated by Invention, I was able to dive right in to Trouble the Water.

This isn't just a story about slavery. There are parts involving the Underground Railroad, but I learned new things about it while also being entertained. Th
...more
Mrs Mommy Booknerd http://mrsmommybooknerd.blogspot.com
#FirstLine ~ Douglas urged his horse onward at a feverish pace, gripped by panic that his wife might have been taken, or his daughter.

A powerful novel with some heavy themes, but those themes were balanced with the richness of the characters and the brilliant story. I loved that there was more than one perspective shared in this book because it gave me a deeper understanding of the story and the characters within it. It was one of those stories that I really enjoyed and was impressed by the lev
...more
Sophie Switzer
Jan 16, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This may be one of the stupidest books I've ever read. I was hoping it would be a book about the abolitionist movement in the pre-war South with romance serving as a secondary plot (a la Yellow Crocus). Instead it was solely about a romance that happened to be set in the pre-Civil War era but really could have been anywhere. Abolition and slavery is only mentioned when it serves to move the romance plot line forward. At the beginning, there are a few chapters from the perspective of a slave on t ...more
Emmy
Mar 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
**3.75**

This was four stars until the ending. (view spoiler)

Overall though, I really enjoyed this. I was kept intrigued by the slow revelation of certain things and I li
...more
Good Book Fairy
Jul 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-read
My Review: 4 stars

Trouble the Water was well-researched and transported me to pre-Civil War Charleston, South Carolina. I’m a sucker for novels where there is a hidden abolitionist among the characters. It’s always good to see who people are behind the masks he or she wears in the public.

This historical background and research was impressive but often came at a cost as it was dropped into conversations, that didn’t always seem natural. Freidland did a great job at building the tension between th
...more
Daria
Feb 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What an amazing debut novel set during the pre-civil war era.

I don’t usually read historical romance but this story just grabbed me from the beginning. It was so well researched and written that you really felt like you were in Charleston in 1846! Even though it is a romance, it also covers the important issues of that time, namely slavery and abolition without being trite and cliche.

The heroine, Abby is a strong independent woman, which is rare for such a period. She was honest and loyal, tho
...more
Wendy
Mar 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky enough to get my hands on an ARC of this book. It starts out right away with action, and the excitement doesn't slow down for the entirety of the book. This is a plot-heavy, fast-paced book. Once you get past the first couple of chapters, it's hard to put down, so beware! I've read many books that involve the Underground Railroad, and this one has just moved to the top of my list. The real focus of the book is the relationships between the characters, and Friedland definitely deliver ...more
Dianne
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A book to cuddle up with on a cold winter's eve or to take your time and savor on warm breezy day. Settle in for a read that makes you laugh, makes you cry -- all in all makes you feel renewed and optimistic about life. You'll miss it when it's over. Looking forward to reading more from this spectacular new author...
Susie Seeber
More romance than expected

I truly anticipated that this book was more about the underground railroad, slavery, and life in the antebellum South than it was. As a romance novel, it is what I consider an average to above average read. Nothing against the book just not quite what I was expecting.
Wendy Bunnell
Apr 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the author and SparkPress for the copy.

I loved the concept of this book and I grew to love the characters. But the pacing was a little slow, especially at first. After we finally got Abby into Charleston society, things picked up and more started happening that grabbed my attention.

I appreciate all of the research this must have taken, and know that it was probably appropriate dialogue, but never really warmed to
...more
Brei
Jun 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Trouble the Water is set in the 1800’s Charleston. You meet Abby and Douglas. Abby has been sent to live with her parents friend Douglas. At first Abby is disgusted with Douglas but when she overhears Douglas planning the escape of a slave her feelings change. The characters in this novel are strong. I love that you can tell Jackie Friedland researches the era and Charleston.
This book has atmosphere and romance. I love how Jackie brings you right into Charleston. She intertwines you with the Un
...more
Brisni (בריטני)
This was a refreshing read for me. There's a nice complexity to the story and the writing style.

Would have been an instant classic with a bit more development. There's a crossover of story lines that could have been more evolved. I could have easily read 200 more pages for that sort of expansion on characters and story.

Yeah, it was a bit romance-y, but redemptive and believable. Overall, I enjoyed it.
Linda (My Reading Chronicles)
It was a good read and I did read it in a day so it’s not like it didn’t capture my attention. I just wished there had been more about slavery. There were so many instances where it was mentioned that there were conflicts but never really dwelt on. I have a lot of questions. The love story itself was nice. It was reminiscent of a Jane Austen romance to me. There are times when a book is too clean for me but this one was perfect. It was clean without being righteous.
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Jacqueline Friedland holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and a JD from NYU Law School. She practiced as an attorney in New York before returning to school to receive her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. She lives in New York with her husband, four children, and a couple of crazy dogs.

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