The Noble Fugitive
The destinies of a runaway Venetian nobleman’s daughter, a descendant of the Acadians, and pre-Victorian reformer William Wilberforce all converge to form volume three in the Heirs of Acadia series. In 1832, Serafina Gavi flees her parents, who have separated her from her heart’s desire, her former art teacher Luca. Serafina tries to take refuge with a relative in England, but new knowledge about Luca’s duplicity and her aunt’s ill health leave her destitute, forcing her into service. John Falconer, an anti-slavery worker, is a guest at Harrow Hall, where he saves Serafina from the unwanted attentions of the son of the house. Anti-slavery friends then introduce them to the dying Wilberforce and enlist their help in the great cause.
The book’s tone is gloomier than other Christian fiction that I have encountered. The main characters spend much of the book in spiritual anguish. Serafina despairs over Luca, endures the drudgeries of a servant’s life, and feels remorse over the break with her parents. Falconer is haunted by the fact that he was once a slaver, repenting his actions and hoping to make atonement by actively fighting slavery. Still, some unusual settings and good characterizations kept me reading. The ending does give the reader hope for a more optimistic future for the protagonists, and promises a sequel.