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Ladies of Oberlin Book One: Red Skies Over America -- EPUB

  • A pre-Civil War Christian historical fiction about an Oberlin College woman.

Other Details

Release Date:
February 11, 2018
Cover Artist:
Gwen Phifer

Product Description

William and America confront evil, but will it costs them everything?

In 1857, America, the daughter of a slave owner, is an abolitionist and a student at Oberlin College, a school known for its radical ideas. America goes home to Kentucky during school break to confront her father about freeing his slaves.

America's classmate, William, goes to Kentucky to preach abolition to churches that condone slavery. America and William find themselves in the center of the approaching storm sweeping the nation and may not make it home to Ohio or live through the struggle.


America Leighton's hands trembled as she read the letter. It was worse than she thought. She stood frozen in place, staring at the words, hoping somehow they would change.

They didn't.

The grandfather clock chimed, and she glanced up. Five o'clock. She didn't want to be late. Placing the envelope in her book, she tucked it in the pocket of her hooded cloak, pushed open the post office door, and rushed outside. As she passed the historic elm on the edge of College Park, the wind burned her cheeks, just what she needed to get her thoughts off the mail she'd received.

Two riders on horseback galloped toward her, rustling the yellow autumn leaves and stirring up a cloud of dust and brown grass. Dirt clung to their long wool coats buttoned tight against their chins. They wore their wide brim planters hats low on their brows. If their attire wasn't enough, the revolvers holstered around their waists and the shotguns perched in their gear showed what they were.

Slave catchers.

America drew in a short breath. She diverted her attention and walked on to Ladies Hall a bit faster than usual, but the hope they would leave her alone trampled under horses' hooves as the men rode across the grassy lawn and stopped in front of her.

The older man tipped his hat. "Ma'am, we're deputies from Maysville."

Cold air turned her breath to steam. Remember to act natural. She forced her voice to keep an even tone. "You're a long way from home."

The younger man wrinkled his forehead. "Aren't you Miss Leighton?"

America pressed her tongue across the back of her teeth and nodded. She didn't recognize any of them.

He turned to the other man. "George, this is Colonel Leighton's daughter."

The older man smiled, and his front gold tooth glimmered. "Ma'am, the name's George Mills. This is my partner, Pete Fowler. Pleased to make your acquaintance. I've had the occasion to buy horses from the colonel in the past. He has a good eye for horse flesh."

"So why are you gentlemen clear up here in Northern Ohio?" She didn't need to ask.

"We've been hired to retrieve some property." Mr. Mills adjusted in his saddle. "What about you? You're a long way from Kentucky."

"I attend Oberlin College."

Mr. Mills raised his eyebrow. "I didn't know Oberlin was a ladies' school."

"It's not. I attend classes with men."

He leaned back in his saddle. "Didn't think the colonel would allow his girl to attend one of those schools."

Mr. Fowler cleared his throat. "Maybe you could help us, Miss Leighton, you being a Kentuckian and all. Have you seen any fugitive slaves around these parts? We're looking for an ebony skinned girl about sixteen with a scar across her right cheek, and a copper colored young buck, tall and thin."

Taking a couple of steady breaths to keep her tone even, she gazed straight at them without flinching. "No, can't say as I have." They couldn't have given a better description of Chance and Milly. If only they would ride off.

"Don't fret about it," Mr. Mills said. "We'll find them. Ma'am, if you do see any Negro runaways, you'll let us know? We're staying at the hotel."

Her heart skipped a beat. "I'll do that."

Mr. Fowler tipped his hat, and they rode off.

America leaned against the elm and watched them. Everything inside urged her to dash off to the boarding house where Milly and Chance stayed, but she waited until the men were out of sight. As soon as they disappeared from view, she hoisted her skirts up and ran to warn the couple to hide.

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