Stafford, Janet R. Walk by Faith – Saint Maggie Series Book #2. HIllsborough: Squeaking Pips Press, Inc., 2013. 272 pp. $12.00. Purchase at Amazon and on Kindle for less.
Janet R. Stafford is a pretty ordinary person, despite the fact that she is grossly over-educated. Aside from a B.A. in Asian Studies from Seton Hall University (South Orange, NJ), she also managed to acquire a Master of Divinity degree and a Ph.D. in North American Religion and Culture from Drew University (Madison, NJ).
From the back of the book:
No one thought that the Second Street boarding house would be destroyed by arsonists. No one wanted to believe that Nate Johnson would be beaten simply because of his race. But things have gotten ugly in Blaineton, New Jersey. It is in the middle of the Civil War and the abolitionist sympathies of the people in Maggie’s boarding house have made them a target for racist and Copperhead forces. When the violence threatens to spread to her brother’s home in the countryside, the sheriff suggests that they move until things calm down. Maggie’s husband Eli has a proposal for them: his two sisters need help aiding fugitive slaves evade the Confederate Army and find freedom in the north. But in order to do this they must relocate to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Maggie and her family risk the move, hoping that they will find some badly-needed peace there. But how can they when newspaperman Eli and his photographer Chester Carson are off covering the war, and Maggie’s son-in-law Edgar and other her daughter’s beau, Patrick, are in the army? How can Maggie and the remaining members of her family start anew in a strange place? And how will all of them hold on to their courage, strength, and faith as the war rages and Confederate and Union forces march into Pennsylvania?
Janet uses all of her academic career to help fashion a fictional account of a family in pre-Civil War times based on what we know of the history of the time. Her story is believable and offers various perspectives on so many life situations then and now.
While one may not always agree with the narration of faith throughout (for example, the author is a Methodist while I am a Southern Baptist), she never really jumps into anything that would cause men and women of other denominations to want to put the book down. In other words, she causes the reader to grapple with major issues – social and theological.
Her writing style is pleasant and her ability to tell a story and keep you guessing is noteworthy.
For those who enjoy historic fiction or fiction in general with a taste of faith, I recommend Walk by Faith to you. Typically, the reader of this book will be a woman though men might enjoy it given its time frame.