In the year 1780, Eve Martin watches as a fire consumes Knowle Manor in Devon, England, the home of her friends, the Crosse family. Their home destroyed, the family move to their London place on Henrietta Street, and James, one of the brothers, invites Eve to stay. As she arrives in London, she meets a man on the streets named John Stuart, a freed-slave and anti-slavery campaigner. Eve is exposed to a new world, and her feelings change as the story unfolds. James and Eve have a secret they have never shared and when it’s finally revealed, there is doubt as to whether the Crosse family will be able to overcome the struggles they face.
This is a moving story that explores both family bonds and the heartbreaking evils of slavery, the latter seen most clearly in a powerful tale (woven beautifully into the main narrative) of a boy named Ado and his brother. The horrible conditions of their plight are described vividly and realistically. The author’s rendition of the historical characters comes alive with depth and feeling. There is lyrical prose throughout which adds beautifully to the story. I recommend this story to those who enjoy reading this period of the late Georgian era.