It's 1855 and Kate Winter is about to graduate from Otterbein College when she fails to pass the speaking requirement. Given a second chance, Kate is forced to obey her mother's edicts and entertain a wealthy suitor. Frustrated with her family and longing to live a meaningful life, Kate plans to run away. Before she finds the opportunity, however, she is thrown into a dangerous situation with Ben Hanby, soon-to-be preacher and friend of the Underground Railroad. Ben and Kate hit it off and want to get married, but a preacher doesn't fit into Kate's mother's plans. Will they find forever love, or will their family situations and politics keep them apart?
I expected this book to be a fluffy Sunday afternoon read, but that wasn't quite the case. With the Underground railroad, alcoholism, honoring parents, choosing career paths, and forgiveness all thrown into the mix, 'shallow' does not describe this book. In fact, I was excited to learn that Ben's character was actually based on a real person. His story is fascinating and definitely makes me want to read more about this period in history. I love the way that Elliot uses Ben's real history and creates this fictionalized version for the book, using what facts are known and creating much of the rest.
Sweeter Than Birdsong is an excellent work of fiction. Fast-paced and personal, full of action and heart and drama, it is a sweet story of forgiveness, redemption, and honor. I can't wait to read Elliot's other books - and the sequel to Birdsong can't be released fast enough.
I received a free copy of Sweeter Than Birdsong from Thomas Nelson in exchange for an honest review.