Sweeter Than Birdsong by Rosslyn Elliott is the sequel to her Fairer Than Morning. Both books, part of The Saddler's Legacy series, are based on the lives of real people who worked on the underground railroad, attempting to smuggle slaves to freedom through Ohio to Canada. In Fairer Than Morning, we learned about Ann Miller and Will Hanby. The sequel tells the story of their oldest son, Ben, writer of songs that include “Darling Nellie Gray” and “Up on the Housetop.”
We also meet Kate Winter in Sweeter Than Birdsong. Kate is the painfully shy daughter of a socially ambitious mother and alcoholic father. Her dreams of being part of the first female graduating class of Otterbein College are threatened by the public speech requirement and her desire to escape from her difficult home life. When Kate is inadvertently drawn into work on the underground railroad, she learns there are worse situations than hers from which to escape. Her compassion for slaves draws her to find courage within to do that which she never dreamed she could.
I enjoyed both the historical part of the novel and the fictional story line. Elliott is gifted in both aspects of this genre. I also appreciated the afterword which made the distinction more clear. Thank you, Thomas Nelson Publishers, for sending a complimentary copy of this book for my review.