Good Sunday morning! ☀️ I have a review for Chariot on the Mountain by Jack Ford, publishing on Tuesday by Kensington. I first heard about this book on The View, as it was a pick from one of the hosts for summer reading. Then, I saw a highly rated review from a friend on Goodreads and knew I needed to pick this one up, too.
Just prior to the Civil War, a farmer in Virginia named Samuel Maddox passes away, leaving his wife owning his property, including his slave, Kitty, and her small children. Kitty happens to be Samuel’s biological daughter.
In years past, Mary, Samuel’s wife, had a difficult time accepting Kitty into their house and family. Ultimately, Mary decides to free Kitty and her children and travels with them along the Underground Railroad to Pennsylvania where Kitty will be emancipated.
However, slave-catchers, including Samuel’s nephew, find Kitty and take her back to Virginia. On a leap of faith, the confident and educated Kitty presses charges against Maddox for kidnapping. Thanks to her powerful allies, Kitty is granted a trial that will determine whether she will be free.
What I loved most about this book is the indestructible bond Kitty forms with her allies who also happen to be women. The writing by journalist, Jack Ford, is smooth and enticing. Chariot on the Mountain is based on true events, which both astounded and elated me, when I saw what lengths the allies would go to in order to protect Kitty and her children. A little caveat worth mentioning is initially the writing was overwrought with description, language, and accents, but in persevering, I found it improved tremendously and wound up on the exceptional side. I adored this story and wish I could have the experience of reading it all over again.
Thank you to Kensington Publishing for the complimentary copy. All opinions are my own. Chariot on the Mountain will be published on July 31, 2018.
“Once old Mastuh be dead, you be workin’ in the fields just like the rest of ’em. That day comin’ soon.”
Two decades before the Civil War, a middle-class farmer named Samuel Maddox lies on his deathbed. Elsewhere in his Virginia home, a young woman named Kitty knows her life is about to change. She is one of the Maddox family’s slaves–and Samuel’s biological daughter. When Samuel’s wife, Mary, inherits her husband’s property, she will own Kitty too, along with Kitty’s three small children.
Already in her fifties and with no children of her own, Mary Maddox has struggled to accept her husband’s daughter, a strong-willed, confident, educated woman who works in the house and has been treated more like family than slave. After Samuel’s death, Mary decides to grant Kitty and her children their freedom, and travels with them to Pennsylvania, where she will file papers declaring Kitty’s emancipation. Helped on their perilous flight by Quaker families along the Underground Railroad, they finally reach the free state. But Kitty is not yet safe.
Dragged back to Virginia by a gang of slave-catchers led by Samuel’s own nephew, who is determined to sell her and her children, Kitty takes a defiant step: charging the younger Maddox with kidnapping and assault. On the surface, the move is brave yet hopeless. But Kitty has allies–her former mistress, Mary, and Fanny Withers, a rich and influential socialite who is persuaded to adopt Kitty’s cause and uses her resources and charm to secure a lawyer. The sensational trial that follows will decide the fate of Kitty and her children–and bond three extraordinary yet very different women together in their quest for justice.
Based on little-known true events and brought vividly to life by Emmy and Peabody award-winning journalist Jack Ford, here is an astonishing account of a time when the traditions of the Old South still thrived, a treacherous journey toward freedom–and a testament to determination, friendship, and courage.
Have you read any books similar to this one? It reminded me slightly of The Kitchen House, which is one of my favorite books. Happy Sunday Reading! ~ Jennifer THR