Dr. Michael Turner is visiting his ailing grandmother. He hasn’t seen her in quite some time, yet she doesn’t hold that against him. She wants to take this opportunity to inform Michael about his past. Michael is skeptical, viewing his grandmother’s stories as more tall tales than reality. His grandmother tells him of a distant relative named Dangerfield Newby. Dangerfield was a former slave who aided John Brown in his crusade to liberate African American slaves from their captivity. Newby was allegedly killed during the raid at Harper’s Ferry in 1859. Turner has his doubts, but sees his Grandmother’s sincerity in her telling about Dangerfield.
In 1848, Dangerfield Newby works on a farm with his family in Virginia. His owner, Henry, is a little more progressive in views. He possesses slaves, but doesn’t mete out corporal punishment as freely as other slaveowners. Dangerfield is loaned out by Henry to perform some work at another farm for a few days here and there. The owner of the other farm, Mr. Jennings, is a callous bigot. He views his charges as chattel that he can whip into shape or else jettison at his own whim. Dangerfield’s short stint at the farm blossoms into something more when he becomes smitten with the exquisite Harriet.
Dangerfield is in love with Harriet, and she is soon with child. Dangerfield longs to start a family with Harriet, but the oppressive slave system threatens to upend any future Dangerfield has in mind. A possible solution offered by John Brown and his band of zealous abolitionists might be the answer.
After Turner’s grandmother’s passing, a yearning to learn about Dangerfield grows inside him. He treks down to Harper’s Ferry with his Wife. A tour of the armory and a possible sighting of Dangerfield leave Turner gobsmacked. He casts the initial sighting aside, but soon his dreams are hijacked with vivid dreams of a brutal and distant past. As the visions persist, Turner becomes unglued and his quest for answers could cost him everything, including his sanity.
History can prove more haunting than any apparition, especially if one chooses to ignore it. Slavery is the Original Sin of the early American Republic, the key period in Dangerfield’s life is also pivotal in the growing Abolitionist movement.
Dangerfield’s Promise by Terrance Newby is part Historical Fiction mixed with a transformative journey of self-discovery. Destiny forms a crucial part of Dangerfield’s and Turner’s lives, especially when it comes to each man reaching a fork in the road: Dangerfield in joining the abolitionist fray and whether Turner relinquishes his investigative journey. The splitting of the narrative between past and present makes this excellent book no less compelling. A moving and wonderful book.
|Page Count||411 pages|
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