The Hidden Light of Northern Fires – Darren Wang

The Hidden Light of Northern FiresHiding in the luggage car, hungry, cold, bone tired, Joe Bell was told by the porter to jump off at Alden, because the next stop was Town Line and it was filled with Copperheads. Not good news. He felt he’d never get to Canada. He was so tired, so very tired. Maybe he shouldn’t have run. Mary Willis was not the most popular woman in Town Line. Folks thought she was uppity. She was educated, outspoken, and a fervent abolitionist. Unknown to everyone, her family’s farm was a stop on the underground railway. When she finds a gravely injured Joe in her barn, of course she hides him in the cellar and nurses him back to health.
Town Line, New York, is a real place, the only secessionist town north of the Mason Dixon Line. The book shows the Civil War from a different perspective, as the townsfolk struggle with their understanding of the issues involved in secession. Battles are far away and mostly only heard about, but young men still die. Most my knowledge of the Civil War has been from the South’s viewpoint. Reading about riots, looting, burning in the North helped me see more of the whole picture. Characters were well drawn, growing and changing as they aged, and the writing is beautiful and descriptive. The plot is a bit predictable, but overall, this is a very good first novel.

eGalley review                                              Publication date 8.29.17

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