Fairer Than Morning

Written by Rosslyn Elliott
Review by Viviane Crystal

You can give your soul away, but no one can take it. These are wise words spoken at a pivotal moment in this first novel of a series entitled “The Saddler’s Legacy.” We begin with Ann Miller, a young woman living on a small farm in Ohio. She is unsure about whether to say yes or no to her beau, Eli, and she has been severely stressed out about being left alone when her father goes out on his circuit ministry.

In 1826, however, she and her sisters have the opportunity to travel with their father to Pittsburgh on saddlery business. While there, she hopes to return a set of letters to someone named Will, letters obviously written from his mother, who was dying. The reader is then introduced to that same Will, who has been apprenticed to a different saddler, one who verbally and physically abuses Will on a horrifyingly regular basis.

While the plot has been steadily mounting, it now takes off at a gallop, with secrets revealed about those who would protect escaping slaves and assist them on their harrowing journey northward. A duel will be fought, and death ensues after a graceful lady is viciously attacked. An animal will be killed, causing a trial in which Will’s responses earn him a brush with death. During this time, we learn of the rising of Unitarianism, the role of many abolitionists in freeing runaway slaves, and a new church called the United Brethren whose believers radiate and display the fiery love of the divine.

Fairer than Morning is a moving Christian, romantic, and historical novel that starts up slowly, speeds ahead, and totally enraptures the reader with love of this well-told tale based on real people.