About the book:
Kitty, a house slave, always figured it was easiest to do what she’d always done--obey Missy and follow orders. But when word arrives that the Yankees are coming, Kitty is faced with a decision: will she continue to follow the bidding of her owners, or will she embrace this chance for freedom? Never allowed to have ideas of her own, Kitty is overwhelmed by the magnitude of her decision. Yet it is her hope to find the "happy ever after" ending to her life--and to follow Grady, whom she loves--that is the driving force behind her choice. Where will it lead her?
The third book in the Refiner's Fire series by Lynn Austin. Each book tells the story of the Civil War from a different viewpoint. This book is told through the eyes of Anna and Grady, house slaves on a plantation in South Carolina.
Anna was born into slavery and knows nothing else. She doesn't understand that she is a person in her own right and not a possession. She has always followed orders and obeyed her spoiled, selfish mistress. Grady was born into slavery, but his father was the white plantation owner who sold his young son to a slave trader.
As the war progresses, Anna and Grady fall in love. When he finds the chance to escape to freedom, Anna is overwhelmed with what that could mean for them. She is torn between the life she has always lived and the unknown, but long-desired chance for freedom. As Anna comes to terms with her life and her desires she also comes to find herself and her faith. As Grady escapes to the north, he joins the Union Army and comes to terms with his hatred for white people, and finds himself and his faith.
The lives of slaves are not sugar-coated here. What I find so interesting is the portrayal of different "massas." Some were truly compassionate, or as compassionate as they could be to these people who were their "possessions." Others were intolerably cruel and heartless. For example, Anna is known as Kitty though most of her life, because her young mistress made her pretend to be the kitten her mother wouldn't let her have.
Austin has a masterful way with her character development. As these characters grow and progress, we the readers are caught up in their lives, just as we have done with the characters in her previous novels.
Some of the characters in this book have been mentioned previously and their stories will be resolved here.
I think this is my favorite book of the series. It's a compelling, thought-provoking read.
Thanks to my local library for having a copy I could borrow. You can purchase your own copy here.
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