MacColl, Michaela and Nichols, Rosemary. Freedom's Price
October 6th 2015 by Calkins Creek
Eliza Scott has a difficult family life while her family awaits the decision of the judge in her father and mother's case. Harriet and Dred Scott are waiting to see if they will be awarded their freedom. Both of the parents are working in St. Louis, but the family has to live in the jail and are released during the day. Eliza and her younger sister Lizzie go with their mother when she washes clothes, and Eliza particularly is fond of going to Miss Charlotte's to work, since she treats her slaves so well. Since Miss Charlotte's husband was an abolitionist but she won't give up her slaves, she is helping the Scott family. When Eliza's voice calms down the elderly and fractious Miss Sophia, Eliza is offered a place working in the house. Her mother is appalled, but when things become bad in the jail during a cholera epidemic, Eliza runs off. Miss Charlotte's wayward son is in need of money and wants to sell a slave against his mother's wishes. Is Eliza imperiling herself by seeking nicer surroundings?
Strengths: There are good notes on the research into Dred Scott's family and life in St. Louis at the time. Slightly different period, and it's good to get a look at slavery that was not in the South.
Weaknesses: Felt that Eliza had a very modern bend to her thinking; I understand why modern novels are written this way, but it always grates just a little.
What I really think: Glad to have a copy, but it won't circulate any more than most of my historical fiction, no matter how much I champion it. It was easier to read than either the super sad books or the weird speculative fiction books out there. I've been in a reading rut all fall because so little sounds good!