Lovelier than Daylight

Written by Rosslyn Elliott
Review by Nancy J. Attwell

Residents of the highly religious town of Westerville, Ohio, were proud of the part they played in the abolition movement, including their involvement in the Underground Railroad. Thus, in 1875, when an outsider tried to establish a saloon in their midst, the citizens embraced the temperance movement with equal fervor. The resulting confrontation between those who believed they had the right to choose that their town be liquor-free, and those who believed that free enterprise should triumph, quickly became violent. When national newspapers picked up the story, they salaciously dubbed the conflict the “Westerville Whiskey Wars.”

In this concluding book of The Saddler’s Legacy, a series loosely based on the Hanby family of Westerville, Susanna Hanby’s sister, Rachel, has fled her alcoholic husband and abandoned her six children in an orphanage. Susanna, an ardent teetotaler whose dislike of the devil’s brew is fanned into fiery hatred by her brother-in-law’s abuses, desperately seeks to rescue the children before it is too late. The white knight who rides in to help Susanna is the most unlikely hero… Johann Giere, the wealthy heir to a German-American brewery.

At heart, Lovelier than Daylight is the story of young woman’s struggle to learn that righteousness without love brings as much destruction as a wagonload of whiskey. The conflict between two cultural forces has modern relevance, and it is the author’s great achievement that she exposes the hypocrisy on both sides, as well as validating the truth in both arguments. Well-written and thought-provoking, this is sure to be a favorite with readers of inspirational fiction.