Kirkus:  Review of Out of Slavery:
        A Novel of Harriet Tubman

A Novel of Harriet Tubman
Carol Trembath
Lakeside Publishing (156 pp.)
$22.61 hardcover, $12.95 paperback
ISBN: 978-0-9907446-7-2

May 10, 2019


A debut historical novel dramatizes the extraordinary life of Harriet Tubman.

Cece is a plantation slave in Maryland, living a perilous existence that promises both cruelty and premature death. Her sister, Lindy, is sold to a new master and “led off in chains,” a ghastly sign to Cece and her brother, Lou, of what is inevitably in store for them too. Lou urgently suggests the nearly unthinkable: They should flee. He has heard rumors of Tubman, a famous ally of slaves who long for their freedom, and her own daring escape from a nearby plantation to Pennsylvania. She runs the secretive Underground Railroad, a vast network of former slaves, Quakers, and committed abolitionists that tries to provide safe passage to the North for slaves on the run. Tubman helps Cece and Lou—as well as Tilly, a young slave from a neighboring plantation—make their escape over the Mason-Dixon Line to freedom, a long and dangerous journey. But the Fugitive Slave Act, which compels Northerners to turn in runaway slaves, ensures that Canada is the only truly free territory to be found. Nevertheless, Lou eventually enlists in the Union Army while Cece and Tubman, toiling as cooks and nurses, assist Yankee soldiers. In Tubman’s case, she works as a spy as well and even leads men into battle. Trembath paints a vivid picture of Tubman, a “fearsome, strong, and capable woman.” The author poignantly depicts the “stings of slavery” and the astonishing bravery of those who defy it. Tubman radiates from the page, larger than life, bigger than the evil she devotes her days to overcome. At one point, she informs a group of fugitive slaves: “I carry this pistol for the faint of heart. If you decide to go off on your own, you die tonight. A dead fugitive tells no tales.”

A soaring portrayal of Tubman movingly conveyed.

Pictured above: The author with Harriet Tubman's Great, Great, Grand Niece--Pauline Johnson