All Different Kinds of Free by Jessica McCann (US) - (Canada) - (Kindle)
Finished: Feb. 10, 2012
First Published: Apr. 1, 2011
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books
Genre: historical fiction, southern fiction, slavery
First sentence: Mama always told me bad things happen on Wednesdays, 'cause it's the middle of the week and the Lord just ain't looking then.
Publisher's Summary: "A free woman of color in the 1830s, Margaret Morgan lived a life full of promise. One frigid night in Pennsylvania, that changed forever. They tore her family apart. They put her in chains. They never expected her to fight back.
In 1837, Margaret Morgan was kidnapped from her home in Pennsylvania and sold into slavery. The state of Pennsylvania charged her kidnapper with the crime, but the conviction was later overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. It was the first time a major branch of the federal government had made a pro-slavery stand, and the ruling in Prigg v. Pennsylvania sewed the bitter seeds of the states' rights battle that eventually would lead to the Civil War.
Yet, the heart of this story is not a historic Supreme Court ruling. It is the remarkable, unforgettable Margaret Morgan. Her life would never be the same. Her family had been torn apart. Uncaring forces abused her body and her heart. But she refused to give up, refused to stop fighting, refused to allow her soul to be enslaved."
Acquired: Received an egalley through NetGalley.
Reason for Reading: I love historical fiction set in this time period about this subject.
A magnificent, heart-felt, compelling read. I just loved this book. What an unimaginably brutal, yet inspiring story. A woman's life is torn apart; she is put into bondage and yet she continues to keep her spirit free and full of hope. What is most surprising about this story is that the main character actually existed, though very little is known about her. The author has given this important though obscure historical figure a chance to have her story known and given her a possible life she may have lead. If this is not exactly how she lead her life, it certainly was the lot of many a "Negro" woman and her family in the early 1800's in America's dark past. Margaret is a riveting character whom one connects with right from the beginning. The cast of secondary characters are also vividly portrayed. The bounty hunter, Prigg, sums up all the evil and prejudice of the times in one person, making him a very disturbing character.
This was a page-turner for me. The historical aspect was appreciated for its relative obscurity. But mostly it was a story that hit my heart and while nothing surprising happens plot-wise, I was invested in the characters and deeply satisfied with the ending.