ISBN #: 978-0062195357
Page Count: 384
Copyright: September 30, 2014
Publisher: Harper; Reprint Edition
(Taken from book jacket)
Worthy Brown's Daughter is a compelling white-knuckle drama about two broken men risking everything for what they believe. Woven through with rich historical detail, it is a breathtaking narrative about the extent of evil and the high price of true justice.
"I've been here too long, Mr. Penny. If someone sees us talking, it could go bad for me." He started to walk away.
"Wait. If I decide to help you how can I get in touch?"
"Don't worry about that. If you gonna help me, I'll find you."
This historical fiction novel, set in the early years of Oregon's statehood (1860's) is set up beautifully. We are already endeared to the young, widowed attorney Matthew Penny early on, so it really sets up the emotions and you have already figured out just whose side you want to win by page 1. I really adored this book because Mr. Margolin clearly does his research and has masterfully crafted not just what the Old West would have looked like, but the people who live there and how day to day lives were accomplished in a state that had JUST come into being.
So to start, we have poor Matthew, who has recently become a widow while traveling to the West, and while grieving, has managed to set himself up as a fairly reputable and honest lawyer. His first major case is not going well and as he is leaving the hearing one day, a Negro man comes up to him, Worthy Brown. He comes to him with information to trade if Matthew is willing to help him get his teenage daughter back from the man who used to be his owner when he was a slave. See, when Caleb Barbour, the man who owned Worthy, moved with Worthy and his daughter Roxanne, they (Worthy and Roxanne) became free, since Oregon did not allow slavery. Well, Barbour and Worthy strike a deal, and only Worthy fulfills his end. Barbour is holding Roxanne captive in his home as a servant.
On another story line, we have Sharon Hill, who is, to put it plainly, a whore with designs of grandeur. She has come to Oregon to find a wealthy man to "marry"; she plans to just have the money and prestige, really. She thinks she finds this man in Benjamin Gillette, one of, if not then the most, wealthy and important man in Oregon. She begins to plan...
How Mr. Margolin manages to streamline these two very different story lines so seamlessly is amazing to me and I thoroughly enjoyed watching as lies unraveled, plans fall apart and two men risk losing everything in the name of true and honest justice. This wasn't just a book about slavery and the abolishment, which it very well could have done, but about truth, justice and those who are strong enough to seek them out, when everything around them tells them to let it alone and let it be.
*A physical copy of the novel was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.