Music offers Kate sweet refuge from her troubles…but real freedom is sweeter.
In Westerville, Ohio, 1855, Kate Winter’s dreams are almost within reach. As the first woman to graduate from Otterbein College, she’ll be guaranteed her deepest wish: escape from the dark secret haunting her family. But with her mother determined to marry her off to a wealthy man, Kate must face reality. She has to run. Now. And she has the perfect plan. Join the upcoming musical performance--and use it to mask her flight.
Ben Hanby, Otterbein College’s musical genius, sees Kate Winter as an enigmatic creature, notable for her beauty, yet painfully shy. Then he hears her sing—and the glory of her voice moves him as never before. He determines to cast her in his musical and uncover the mystery that is Kate. Still, he must keep his own secret to himself. Not even this intriguing woman can know that his passionate faith is driving him to aid fugitives on the Underground Railroad.
A terrifying accident brings Kate and Ben together, but threatens to shatter both their secrets and their dreams. Kate can no longer deny the need to find her courage—and her voice—if she is to sing a new song for their future.
Sweeter than Birdsong is a stirring novel of hope and faith inspired by real historical people and events.
I read the first book in The Saddler's Legacy titled Fairer than Morning last year and loved it. Needless to say, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to read more about the Hanby family. I always find it fascinating to read novels that are inspired by real families, and the Hanby's are still one of the most celebrated families of Westerville, Ohio.
I was immediately drawn into the story of Kate ... her alcoholic and abusive father, her controlling mother, and her rather shallow younger sister. Kate had almost crippling insecurities and yet nothing would hold her back from finding her own freedom and personal happiness, even if it means leaving everything behind.
Ben Hanby was a musical protege at the same college that Kate attended, and their paths would continue to cross both academically and socially in the community. Ben became involved in situations that some would label as heroic, while others would have not hesitate to have him arrested.
Much of this story revolves around the topic of slavery, and the Hanby family was very involved in the Underground Railroad. I especially enjoyed the notes included in the "afterward" which documents the true history of Ben and Kate Hanby.
I highly recommend both books in The Saddler's Legacy series.
Disclosure: Book received through Book Sneeze, in exchange for my honest review.