Freedom’s Altar is a lyrical, beautifully written tale of ordinary families struggling to remake their lives in post-Civil War North Carolina. Former slave owner Judge Madison Curtis has to come to terms with matters on his conscience – including the former owning of slaves. Daniel McFee, one of those slaves, has to work his way through his own ambivalent feelings towards the man once his master. Nahum Bellamy, freedom fighter and now dangerous maverick, has scores to settle, as do others eking out a living in a world turned upside down by war.
Although there is no main character in the novel, it is a tribute to the author’s skill that all the individual voices are clear and the cast carries the story forward in an engrossing and coherent manner. The descriptions of North Carolina are evocative, and although I’d never been there, by the end of the novel I felt as if I knew the place. I was also put in touch with a period of history about which I knew absolutely nothing.
Well worth reading.