THE GLASS DOVE by Sally Carrighar


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Miss Carrighar, a luminous writer of books about nature and animals, here turns her unique talents for observation and research to a novel about the Underground Railroad. Though the people and places are largely fictitious, Sylvia and Daniel are based upon the author's grandparents; and the book has almost the warmth and reality of personal reminiscences. The time is just before the Civil War. Sylvia's father, a writer and farmer in Ohio, has turned his farm into a secret stopover for slaves escaping to Canada. The penalties for being caught are great, and both the family and the fugitives who come every night, live in seclusion and constant watchfulness. Gradually, through listening to the slaves' terrible stories, the father's sentiments become more intense. When war is declared, he enlists, leaving 17-year old Sylvia, her sister, aunt and a boy cousin to run the station. But presently he sends to them a wounded young sharpshooter, Daniel, to recuperate. Dan helps them care for an ill, elderly Negro and a baby; and inevitably he and Sylvia fall in love. A unique, solitary, intensely aware person, Dan is unlike Sylvia's idea of a manageable husband, and, in trying to change him, she accidentally betrays her refugees into imprisonment and Dan into the hands of local Abolitionist fanatics. Not until much later do they forgive each other and marry. This is distinguished from the commonplace novels with this theme for its vivid picture of a dramatic situation, of the Civil War and the complex of pro- and anti-slavery sentiments in a small town, and of a tense and beautiful human relationship. A thoroughly absorbing novel.

Publisher: Doubleday