A Reckoning by Linda Spalding

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1855, Virginia: the Dickinson farm, run by brothers Benjamin and John, is visited by a Northern abolitionist who secretly distributes compasses, maps, and knives to the people enslaved there. Bry is the first slave to flee, determined to find his mother and daughter already in Canada. His escape inspires a dozen others.

Without their labor, the farm falters and is forfeited to the bank. John Dickinson, who is also a circuit-riding preacher, gathers his flock into a wagon train to find a new life in the west. But he carries a dangerous secret that compels him to abandon the group at the last minute, and his wife, daughters, and thirteen-year-old son, Martin, must now face life on the trail without him. After a fateful encounter along the way, Martin and Bry will hatch a plot to get Bry safely to Canada, but each member of the family will be irrevocably changed by the journey. Told with astonishing empathy, A Reckoning brilliantly re-creates an America that was: the undefiled beauty of its lands; the grand mix of settlers and Native Americans, blacks and whites; and people leaving one life behind for another they can only just begin to see.