Saturday, March 5, 2016

Chasing the North Star by Robert Morgan

He's a runaway slave.  He's punished for stealing a bible even though it was a gift from his owner's wife.  He can't admit he can read or that he got a gift.  So he's whipped and shamed as a thief.  When night comes, he runs...

Algonquin Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published April 5th, so make a note on your TBR list.

Jonah is eighteen and in good shape when he starts his journey north but that doesn't last.  As he gets more hungry, he finds himself stealing what vegetables and fruit he can find.  Once in a while he might get meat but mostly he just keeps moving.  It's hard to hide from those following him and everyone he meets is an enemy.  Especially since there is a reward out for him now.

It's when he's taking odd jobs here and there that he meets Angel, another slave.  Her master is sleeping with her and, while he's good to her, she's ready to take a chance on getting up north, too.  It's Jonah's unfortunate luck that she decides to follow him.

They keep changing their names, Jonah tries to ditch her, and they work here and there and get hungry in between.  Every time he leaves without her, she finds him again.

When they are finally, maybe, far enough north to settle down for a bit, they both get jobs.  Hers is prostitution again and that angers Jonah.  Then he thinks about how little opportunity black girls have for jobs and decides she's doing what she must to live.  

This story has a good ending.  The slaves are used and abused all along their travels but that's the way it was at that time.  They couldn't trust anybody.  They couldn't even trust each other.  But they survived.

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