Time Trail

By Janet Slater

Book Blurb

Casey arrives in southwest Ohio expecting a working retreat, staying at a historic home along a wooded bike trail while analyzing lead-contaminated soil samples at an abandoned ammunition factory. Instead she is drawn into events that shape history along two railroads-one, buried by the bike trail, that took a newly-elected president to his inauguration and a Civil War; and the other an Underground Railroad of courageous people and high ideals, but also of buried secrets. Told through a fugitive slave interview, newspaper articles, an old diary and modern narration, three stories intertwine in this novel based on a real place and people both real and imagined.  (Goodreads.com)

My Review

This novella length novel was right up my alley.  It is a historical fiction set right in my backyard. The story takes place between the towns of Morrow, Ohio and Fosters, Ohio along the Little Miami Scenic Trail (a wooded bike/walking trail) in southwestern Ohio.  Much of the story takes place at the Peters Cartridge Factory which is abandoned and is situated between the two towns and just over the hill from my house.

Casey came to Ohio to collect soil samples at the old factory. She rented an old house in Fosters that still exists today. The house was built by Henry Butterworth and was a stop on the Underground Railroad.  In order not to reveal too much of the story, I won’t delve into what happens in this short novel, but I will say it has a time travel element where Casey is taken back in time to learn of happenings relating to that time.  From a historical point of view, though some of the details are fictionalized, there were deaths from a munitions factory explosion, president-elect Lincoln’s whistle-stop ride through Morrow, and the history surrounding the Underground Railroad and the dangers faced by slaves. For those who love romance, there is some of that, too, but not so much to scare off anyone who isn’t interested in that genre.

This was truly an enjoyable read and I would definitely recommend it to EVERYONE!

About the Author

Janet Slater is a writer and editor and a former writing instructor at the University of Cincinnati. She has served as editor of two local magazines and several books, and currently is editor of Trail Mail, the newsletter of Friends of the Little Miami State Park. Her love of local history and research inspires her writing, most recently in Time Trail, set just north of Cincinnati where she lives with her husband. She is also the author of A Home in the Storm, a historical fiction book for children ages 8 to 12. Janet volunteers on the board of directors of the Friends of the Little Miami State Park and enjoys inline skating and bicycling on its beautiful trail.

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Down from the Mountain

By Courtney Allen


My Review

From the first, I was impressed with the author’s rich descriptions in Down from the Mountain.  Normally I don’t enjoy reading a book that contains so much detail, but the vivid descriptions brought the story to life.  The author researched his subject well and depicted an Appalachian family that was hard-working, fierce, and loyal.  The story is based in Fort Mountain, a town in northern Georgia near the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.

Narrated by Silas McCarter, who along with his sister Clara, was orphaned at a very young age and taken in by their Uncle Troy and Aunt Bly.  They worked the land on Fort Mountain, scaping out a meager living.

The story is filled with family love, a family feud, murder, and violence.  The community pulls together to help their friend Troy Stanton.  There are racial taboos of the time and unexpected outcomes.  This book has all of this and more. The many diversions of the plot are all pulled neatly together for a satisfying end.

I recommend Down from the Mountain to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.

I was given a copy of Down from the Mountain by the author in exchange for my honest review.
I did not receive any monetary compensation for this review.



Down from the Mountain is a historical fiction of a struggling Appalachian family, working and living a hand-to-mouth existence on hard and unforgiving land. In the beginning, Troy Stanton’s young niece, Clara, becomes pregnant, and there is much contention as to the father and how to manage the circumstances. When the pregnant Clara suddenly vanishes, Troy is mired in indecision and finds few answers with no one to turn to. The Stanton’s suspect foul play from someone inside the small town, but Clara’s brother, Silas, discovers the secret and must bury it from the eyes of the community for the truth is never to be told.

From the greatest desires comes the most bitter hatred, and the Stanton’s must stand their ground in order to survive in a world fraught with unjust grievances and black-hearted adversaries. The story is built as Clara embarks on a treacherous journey and brother Silas copes with living on the mountain, ultimately defending his own life, while Troy goes in search of his niece after she mysteriously disappears from their mountain home. Along the way, Clara’s fatherless, unborn child is in peril as Clara undertakes the dangerous road to another life and onto her final destination, one that she never intended arriving at in the first place. Involving matters in the region, the Stanton’s are faced with generational hatreds that refuse to die and negotiating their lives in the highlands of Appalachia becomes increasingly difficult. They are paired with many challenges and dilemmas of moral choices, life decisions, compromising situations, danger, distrust, and honor. Life in the mountains is hard and keeping his family name is first and foremost to Troy Stanton.

This story is an intriguing journey of love and struggle, even murder and death, between the will to move their lives onward and the desire to become a family once again. Turn the cover to find the opening pages compelling, the heart of the book strong, and the ending satisfying yet bittersweet. Down from the Mountain is a tasteful début novel that will fill you with wonder, entice your soul, and leave you wanting more.

Blurb is taken from Goodreads.

About the Author

Courtney Allen lives with his family in Atlanta, Georgia. He has been writing for many years and has written six other novels. Down from the Mountain is his first published book.

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