Wednesday, September 30, 2015

THE CANDLE STAR by Michelle Isenhoff

The Candle Star
It is 1858 and young Emily Preston is headed to Detroit.  Her unpleasant behavior and poor attitude have resulted in her parents' decision to send Emily to spend time with her mother's brother, Uncle Isaac. 

Used to life on the plantation in Charleston and the attention of family-owned slaves, Emily is out of her element when she arrives in Detroit.  Uncle Isaac owns and operates a hotel in the city.  Emily is expected to attend school and lend a hand helping around the hotel.  Dealing with the idea of blacks who have their freedom is completely contrary to Emily's upbringing.

Determined to be annoying enough to give her uncle reason to send her home, Emily treats him and his employees with contempt and disrespect.  Uncle Isaac rises to the challenge of dealing with the obnoxious teen and puts her in her place instead of sending her packing.

As time passes and Emily gets to know Uncle Isaac and his friends, including some of the free blacks, she begins to realize that she is not better than others.  When she first arrived and met Mr. Burrows, a slave catcher, she thought his job was an honorable one.  Retrieving runaway slaves was something she was raised to believe was acceptable.  However, her time in Detroit and a growing friendship with a young black boy causes her to change her thinking and view the work of Mr. Burrow as unjust.

Author Michelle Isenhoff brings history alive in THE CANDLE STAR.  Her characters are relatable and intriguing.  Readers will be frustrated with Emily's behavior, but will come to appreciate her change and growth as she experiences life in the North.  THE CANDLE STAR is book #1 in the Divided Decade Trilogy.  Its fast pace and easy style is perfect for middle grade readers.

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