Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, and I especially enjoy stories that include real people and events. In her debut novel, Fairer than Morning, Rossslyn Elliott shares the story of the Hanby family, real people remain the most celebrated citizens of Westerville, Ohio. Will Hanby was an indentured servant who was badly abused by a harsh master. After escaping his tormentor, Will found refuge with the Miller family in Ohio. Samuel Miller offered to train Will in saddle making, and also introduced him to the Underground Railroad and Christianity.
Samuel Miller’s daughter Ann is another main character in this story. Ann is a responsible young woman, caring for her father and sisters after the death of her mother. She is in love with Eli, a suitor who shares her passion for literature. Although Eli asks Ann to marry him, Ann is worried about leaving her young sisters and father alone. As the story unfolds, Ann finds other men interested in her heart, and she is forced to think about her future and the kind of life she wants to live.
Rosslyn Elliott uses the historical facts from the lives of Will and Ann to craft an engaging story that involves romance, friendship, suspense, and forgiveness. Fairer than Morning includes fascinating details about the difficult living conditions in industrial cities in the early 1800’s, as well as insight into the realities of the Underground Railroad and indentured servanthood. For the most part, the Christian aspect of this novel is naturally woven into the story, not forced. And, most of the characters are both likable and frustrating, giving them a depth that readers will appreciate.
For fans of historical fiction, Fairer than Morning is the beginning of a series that promises to be entertaining and enlightening. I enjoyed this touching story, and I look forward to the next book in the The Saddler’s Legacy Series.
Lauren is a wife, mother of two, and an avid reader. She blogs at Baseballs and Bows.