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1861/1963/Present Day – Michigan
When Detroit Free Press reporter Elizabeth Balsam meets James Rich, his strange request–that she look up a relative she didn’t know she had in order to deliver an old camera and a box of photos–seems like it isn’t worth her time. But when she loses her job after a botched investigation, she suddenly finds herself with nothing but time.
At her great-aunt’s 150-year-old farmhouse, Elizabeth uncovers a series of mysterious items, locked doors, and hidden graves. As she searches for answers to the riddles around her, the remarkable stories of two women who lived in this very house emerge as testaments to love, resilience, and courage in the face of war, racism, and misunderstanding. And as Elizabeth soon discovers, the past is never as past as we might like to think.
Debut novelist Erin Bartels takes readers on an emotional journey through time–from the volatile streets of 1960s Detroit to the Underground Railroad during the Civil War–to uncover the past, confront the seeds of hatred, and discover where love goes to hide.
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Join the journey as nine couples work along the Underground Railroad between 1849 and 1860, determined to bring freedom and justice to all. There is hope for the future when people come together to fight evil, and when men and women find love in the midst of great challenges.
Summer on Sunset Ridge
1855 – Pennsylvania
Brought up on a Quaker farm near Philadelphia at the brink of the Civil War, plainspoken Rebecca Albright is expected to be charitable, peace-loving, and submissive. But she is feeling anything but. A feisty abolitionist, Rebecca is determined to aid the Underground Railroad no matter the cost, until her path collides with slave-catcher Sheriff Clay Dalton who’s grimly fighting battles of his own. When tensions between the North and South escalate, the two find themselves propelled on a journey to discover just who God has called them to be—and whether friendship needs a common enemy.
1819 – Maryland
When unexpected circumstances leave Honor Penworthy destitute after the death of her grandfather, she is forced to leave her Maryland plantation—and the slaves she hoped to free—and seek refuge with a distant relative. With no marketable skills, her survival hinges on a marriage arranged through the Quaker community to local glass artisan Samuel Cathwell. Samuel is drawn to Honor, but he has been unwilling to open his heart to anyone since scarlet fever took his hearing as a child. A move west brings the promise of a fresh start, but nothing in Honor’s genteel upbringing has prepared her for the rigors of frontier life with Samuel. Nevertheless, her tenacity and passion sweep her into important winds of change, and she becomes increasingly—though secretly—involved in the Underground Railroad. Samuel suspects Honor is hiding something, but will uncovering the truth confirm his worst fears or truly bring them together as man and wife? Set against the backdrop of dramatic and pivotal moments in American history, the Quaker Brides series chronicles the lives of three brave heroines, fighting to uphold their principles of freedom while navigating the terrain of faith, family, and the heart.
1850 – Indiana
In a divided town during a dangerous era, who can be trusted? Liberty, Indiana, is home to a stop on the Underground Railroad operated by Anna Brent and her father, covert abolitionists who harbor runaway slaves traveling toward freedom. The Brents must be very careful; anyone caught aiding runaways is subject to imprisonment under the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. So when Anna begins to write columns denouncing slavery in the local newspaper, she must adopt a pen name. Even the newspaper’s editor, Daniel Stanton, does not know the author’s true identity. Daniel takes a risk publishing the columns—his job, his newspaper, and his very life might be in danger. When Anna’s work on the Underground Railroad is threatened, can she turn to Daniel, a man she barely knows, to ensure the safety of the slaves so dear to her? Will she and Daniel be willing to risk everything for their beliefs—including their personal liberty?