First: YAY TO MY FRIEND BETH KANELL! She has created another novel for history and Vermont buffs. Long story how I meet her, but she and I have talked books, poetry and life in general and I cannot wait to talk The Long Shadow with her as well.
Second: The Long Shadow is set in North Upton, Vermont in 1850. She deals with abolition, bounty hunters and hiding fugitives of the escaped slave kind. Her narrator, Alice, is a young teen girl, growing up in a family of brothers in a small Vermont town. Her best friend lives next door and her family owns the local tavern. The first time she meets a person of color is when Sarah, a slave that was brought to Vermont to keep her free, comes to the village. When the slave bounty hunter comes to the area, Alice will do anything she can to help save her new “sister” even take her friend to Canada if need be.
The adventures include hiding, meeting people who are not always friendly to people who look like Sarah, learning not everyone of color is “small and meek” and even a possible bit of love starts blooming. The realistic portrayal of what the country and Vermont was like is given in just the right amount of details. Historic people come to life and the everyday person is shown. And shown how much strength they can have.
Kanell’s voice is modern, so while you are reading a historical novel, it can be read by the 10 to 14-year-old crowd. But of course, adults can enjoy as well. She takes pieces of history that you might not be aware of and brings them to the page.
Finally, this book is near and dear to me. And while it is not my favorite of her novels, I hope it because a beloved read!