When Stars Begin to Fall

Denise J. Williamson, Author, B. M. Cook, Foreword by Bethany House Publishers $12.99 (448p) ISBN 978-1-55661-883-3
Clich d Christian abolitionists people this dull, desultory historical novel about the Underground Railroad. The sequel to the Christy-nominated The Dark Sun RisesDin which Joseph, a South Carolina slave, studies in Charleston, falls in love and is manumittedDthis snoozer tells the story of the struggle for black freedom in the North. When we become reacquainted with Joseph, he is a physician in Pennsylvania, laboring with kindly Quakers to secure the freedom of a young runaway slave. We also meet up again with Mayleda (the daughter of the planter who owned Joseph), who has moved to the North and is the widow of an abolitionist. Her racist in-laws cannot abide her keeping company with black freedmen and go to great lengths to keep her safe (indeed, locked up) at home. A few love interests add some hint of spice to the tired plot, but the characters are poorly developedDCharles's sudden conversion to abolitionism is especially unconvincingDand the dialect is tiresome and inconsistent (Joseph sounds like he was educated at Harvard, while other black characters might have stepped out of Uncle Remus stories). Christian readers who are interested in the intersection of religion and antislavery politics in antebellum America should stick to Tim Stafford's more convincing historical novels. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 12/04/2000
Release date: 12/01/2000
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