Occasionally, you will come across a book that is set in the Old South that is remarkable. Occasionally, you will find the story believable and true to the reality of the times. Occasionally, you will find yourself wrapped up in a story that you didn’t actually expect to enjoy. Wake Not The Hangman is one of those books.
Set in a time where abuse of other human beings was not only acceptable, but perhaps in some ways, expected, this book takes a heartbreaking look at a man’s life from childhood and upwards. He is treated brutally by his father and his mother is treated horribly as well. His life is irrevocably changed when his father buys three new slaves. That moment, that decision leads the reader through a journey that is sad, triumphant and bittersweet.
This is a book that will leave an imprint on your mind for many, many days to come. You’ll find yourself opening the book up again to make sure you’re remembering a certain point correctly. You’ll probably even want to reread the book a few times and find yourself discovering a deeper, more thought provoking moment than when you read it the first time.
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Thornton Guthrie works his father’s land at gunpoint. The year is 1834, and men of the establishment have total control over their kin. Escaping is out of the question. Estranged from his abused mother, Thornton lives in isolation.
That changes when Thornton’s father buys three slaves, William, Ronan, and Henry. Thornton loathes slavery and realizes that for the first time in fifteen years, his father–and his father’s rifle–are outnumbered. Thornton dreams of joining forces with the men to plot an escape, but as the slave-owner’s son, he must convince the men he is on their side while under the watchful barrel of his father’s gun. He discovers he has something unexpected in common with thirty-six-year-old William and hazards a dangerous initial contact, hoping it won’t cost him everything. Thornton’s bravery sets in motion an audacious escape plan that, through a deadly turn of events, becomes a race against the clock further complicated by a crafty interloper on Guthrie Farms, Thornton’s ill-timed first romance, and the lethal secret of one of the captives.
A tale of treachery, bondage, fellowship, and courage, Wake Not the Hangman depicts how one young man’s desire to escape his wretched father leads to a much bigger quest: freedom for a band of newfound friends confined by servitude and the law. INCLUDES READER’S GUIDE.
“…palpable atmosphere and…seat-gripping suspense scenes. Energetic and spirited storytelling make this…an entertaining read.” – Kirkus Reviews
Deborah Leigh is a former magazine editor who took a sharp turn into the world of law, which she has inhabited for over a decade. She borrows from both of her pasts and her love of Westerns and classic films to tell tales of justice from bygone times. Born literally on Los Angeles’s storied Sunset Boulevard, she enjoys including worries thought to be intrinsic to modern urban life in her rustic stories. She has called many cities all over the United States and Europe home and was married in France, where she gave birth in a suburb of a suburb of a suburb of Paris.
She’s had the good fortune to “walk to work” in Wiesbaden, “run errands in Belgium” when she lived near its border, “catch movies” in Luxembourg while living in nearby Metz, France, and study on a tip of Germany so far south, she once cut her morning classes to go to Switzerland, and was back before lunch. She’s lived within bicycle distance of the Atlantic Ocean and crisscrossed the United States several times by train and car. Ultimately a hometown girl, she and her only son live in downtown Los Angeles, where she can see Sunset Boulevard from her living room window.