Friday, June 20, 2014

Book Review: Neither Bond Nor Free by Nina Coombs Pykare

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Title: Neither Bond Nor Free

Author: Nina Coombs Pykare

Series: Standalone

Genre: Historical

Audience: Adult

**4 stars** 
Neither Bond Nor Free was an exciting, exquisite tale of southern belles and infamous “northern people”, the Underground Railroad, and the growing anger between the North and South states of America. I was quickly drawn into this book, and enjoyed it very much.

Sarah Hawthorne lives on a vast slave plantation in the South, with her father and mother. She is involved in a secret slave-freeing organization with her mother and her personal attendant slave, Minta. Sarah is also engaged to the son of a mean slave owner. Neither men treat slaves or women as worth much than dirt.
     Calvin Sharp is a Pinkerton agent, and has suddenly found himself very abolitionist, though he’s always had that mindset, due to his living in the northern states. He saves a little slave boy from a terrible life, and meet Sarah through that, a pretty little southern belle hard to forget. But no one, certainly not Mr. Hawthorne, is going to agree to a relationship between Calvin and Sarah.
     A forbidden romance and exciting adventures ensue. The Civil War breaks out. Secrets are unearthed. Victories are made.

Neither Bond Nor Free made for an all-around captivating, sweet, and faith-filled historical fiction. I love the era were the Underground Railroad was going on and such … though it also can be so heart-wrenching! Nina Coombs Pykare wrote with detail and grace, and told this story for how it was, but also with redemption and freedom at hand.

There was quite a lot of deaths, and some seemed a little bit forced, as if just to get the certain character out of the way. But it still all flowed together pretty smoothly. Another concern was a few comments about the faith … particularly on pg. 140, which goes as follows: “Some days, thinking of the misery slavery had caused, she couldn’t conceive how any slaveholder would ever make it to heaven. But of course that wasn’t up to her. Who was saved and who wasn’t—that was God’s business. Not up to any person. That was probably a lucky thing.” Well … true to a certain extent. But let’s not forget to mention that none of us can “make it to heaven”. No good deed is good enough to get us to heaven. Yet no evil deed is bad enough to keep us from God’s forgiveness … if we so choose. By God’s grace, we all may enter heaven, if we accept His gift to us and choose Him as our Savior. So I thought that paragraph from Neither Bond Nor Free was quite unclear!

Otherwise, a worthwhile story. I really enjoyed it.

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