In The Secret of the Strawbridge Place two 1930s children find the remains of an underground railroad station on an Ohio farm, and this takes us back to the 1850s where Victory Strawbridge records the comings and goings of runaway ""shipments,"" slave catchers, and various suspicious visitors to the large Quaker family's prosperous farm. Right off, Victory's brother Homer is shot trying to keep hunters off the property; the handsome doctor who comes to treat him--and finds an escapee's lost African charm in the mud by the barn--may or may not be a slavers' spy. Vexingly, he keeps returning, and must be called again for Mother's fever. Meanwhile shipments come and go, and they include a highly prized group from Kentucky who bring a posse descending on the Strawbridge farm--in a frantic climax, Victory starts a barn fire to distract from the search. The presumed ""low rowdy"" thought to have shot Homer proves to be one of the most valuable agents on the underground network--a surprise typical of this domestic adventure, in which characterization is relatively shallow but distinct, and crises abound. Victory thinks fast and acts dramatically, and the goings-on have more substance than those in Secret. . . .