By Janet Slater
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)
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.
Purchase TIME TRAIL at Amazon.