Tag Archives: Rosslyn Elliott

Book Review: Sweeter Than Birdsong

13 Feb

When Ben casts lovely Kate Winter to sing in his latest show, they find they share a love for music and ideas. But Kate’s mother wants her daughter to marry a rich man. Ben has given his life to God, not to the pursuit of wealth.

Kate Winter will be the first female graduate of Otterbein College, and every young man in town courts her. But Kate’s dark family secrets leave her unspeakably shy. When Kate joins the Hanbys in their dangerous work on the Underground Railroad, she finds her courage and her voice. Can Ben and Kate find a way to be together in spite of the obstacle of Kate’s family?

Rosslyn Elliott is the award-winning author of Fairer than Morning, the first in the Saddler’s Legacy series. She holds a B.A. from Yale University and a Ph.D. in English from Emory University. Her study of American literature and history inspired her to pursue writing fiction. Elliott lives in Albuquerque, where she homeschools her daughter and works in children’s ministry.

Visit www.rosslynelliott.com for more information.

My Impressions:

Sweeter Than Birdsong continues the story of the Hanby family of Ohio, a true life family that was devoted to ending slavery and worked selflessly in the Underground Railroad during the first half of the 1800s.  In this second installment in the Saddler’s Legacy series, Ben Hanby is a college student determined to make a difference in the abolition movement.  His early experience with the loss of life and love among those who had been enslaved has shaped his character and his dedication to the cause.  It is difficult and dangerous work, but he is determined to make a difference.  Kate Winter is the shy daughter of a wealthy yet troubled family in Wersterville.  Also a student at Otterbein College, Kate’s desperation to escape her  circumstances puts her in Ben’s path. Kate’s introduction to the plight of slaves changes her attitude and the direction of her life.

Sweeter Than Birdsong, a stand alone novel, tells more than a story of new love and romance.  It is a fact based historical novel that brings the years leading up to the Civil War to life.  The Hanby family is real and their experiences with the Underground Railroad are well documented.  And Ben Hanby was the prolific writer of songs, one of which echoed the fight for freedom.  The story is also a reminder of the need for personal freedoms within the structure of God’s love. Rosslyn Elliott has again captured the Hanbys’ wonderful story in a way that keeps the reader turning the pages.  If you like history, suspense, or just a good story well told, pick up Sweeter Than Birdsong.


To read my review of Fairer Than Morning, click HERE.

To read the views of other reviewers, click HERE.

(I received a copy of Sweeter Than Birdsong from LitFuse in return for an honest review.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Be sure to check out the iPod Giveaway to celebrate the release of Sweeter than Birdsong:

One fortunate winner will receive:

  • A Brand new iPod Nano (Winner’s choice of color!)
  • Fairer than Morning by Rosslyn Elliott
  • Sweeter than Birdsong by Rosslyn Elliott

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends at noon on February 28th. Winner will be announced at Sweeter than Birdsong Author Chat Facebook Party on 2/28. Rosslyn will be chatting with guests, sharing a sneak peek of the next book in the series, hosting a trivia contest, and more! She’ll also be giving away some GREAT prizes: gift certificates, books, Seasons 1 and 2 of Downtown Abbey and a soundtrack DVD, and a book club prize pack! (Ten copies of the book for your small group or book club AND a LIVE Author Chat for your group with Rosslyn.)

So grab your copy of Sweeter than Birdsong and join Rosslyn and friends on the evening of the 28th for an evening of fun.

Don’t miss a moment of the fun. RSVP today and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 28th!

Book Review: Fairer Than Morning

2 Sep

In 1826, Ann Miller travels to Pittsburgh with her widowed father and two young sisters, only to find that a mysterious man has pursued them all the way from Ohio. Is Ann’s father just a circuit minister, or is he hiding something that may endanger them all?

Will Hanby indentures with a Pittsburgh saddler maker, only to discover that his master is a cold-hearted tyrant. After years of abuse, Will becomes a prisoner of his own mind. But then lovely Ann Miller comes to stay next door and her compassion lights a long-dark part of Will’s soul. His renewed courage puts his life in jeopardy as he begins to assist fugitive slaves. Will’s murderous master and Ann’s questions about her family may keep both of them bound in the shadows forever. Or will they find freedom-together?

As the child of a career military man, Rosslyn Elliott lived in four states and two foreign countries before she graduated from high school. She attended Yale University, where she earned her BA in English and Theater Studies. After five years working first in corporate New York City, then as a schoolteacher, she entered the Ph.D. program in English at Emory University and finished her dissertation in 2006.

Her study of American literature spurred her to pursue her lifelong dream of writing fiction.

Rosslyn lives with her husband and daughter in the southwestern United States.

My Impressions:

Fairer Than Morning is the first installment in the Saddler’s Legacy series by Rosslyn Elliott.  And if this book is any indication, readers are going to have lots of wonderful reading ahead!  Because it was billed as historical romance, I was expecting a light romance set amid the trappings of the early 19th century.  I was very pleasantly surprised to find a richly written novel exploring the dark theme of slavery — physical as well as spiritual.

Will Hanby has put himself voluntarily under the authority of Master Jacob Good in order to learn the trade of saddlery.  What he finds is a nightmare world of physical and emotional abuse.  With 2 1/2 years left of his indenture, Will encounters Master Samuel Miller and his daughter Ann.  Perhaps there is a way out of his bondage before he loses everything, including his life. Ann Miller knows her father is a circuit preacher and master saddler, but his work with the underground railroad is a well-kept secret until their trip to Pittsburg.  She is sure she knows what real love is, until faced with suffering and sacrifice.   Will love (God’s love) win out at the end?

I appreciated the well-drawn characters, the historical research and the subject of bondage that Rosslyn Elliott so skillfully sets forth in this debut novel.  And I am anxious to find out the rest of the story as it unfolds in the next books.  An added bonus to this series is that the main characters actually lived!  I love an historical novel with its foundation in fact.  Pick up Fairer Than Morning; I think you’ll love it.


To see more reviews, please click HERE.

To celebrate the release of her debut novel, Rosslyn is giving away a Kindle Prize Package and a Custom-Made Historical Reproduction Dress! Sigh…romantic. 

One winner will receive:

* Kindle with Wi-Fi

Fairer Than Morning (for Kindle)

To enter just click one of the icons below. But, hurry, giveaway ends on 9/19. Winner will be announced on 9/20 at Rosslyn’s Book Club Facebook PartyDetails and official rules can be found when entering the contest.

During the party Rosslyn will be chatting with guests, hosting a book chat about Fairer Than Morning & historical fiction, testing your trivia skills, and giving away books and gift certificates (Amazon, iTunes, Starbucks). She’ll also be giving away a $200 gift certificate toward a FABULOUS custom-made period dress from Recollections

(I received a copy of Fairer Than Morning from LitFuse Publicity.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.)