A big box of Advance Review copies came
in the mail last week. I’m totally thrilled!
It’s 1838, and May Bedloe works as a seamstress for her self-absorbed cousin, the actress Comfort Vertue—until their steamboat sinks on the Ohio River and both must find new employment. Comfort is hired by noted abolitionist, Flora Howard, to give lectures for her cause, and May finds work with a delightfully eccentric theater troupe that performs on a flatbed riverboat along the uneasy border between the northern states and southern, slave-holding states.
All goes well until May encounters her cousin and Mrs. Howard again. She owes a debt to Mrs. Howard, who takes advantage of May’s vulnerability to enlist her in a secret network of abolitionists. Now May is compelled to break the law, deceive her new friends, and deflect the suspicions of a slave catcher who has begun to take interest in her. But when one of May’s missions takes a surprising turn, she has no choice but to put her unsuspecting friends in danger as she walks the fine line between what is morally right and what is lawful.
Martha Conway’s novel Thieving Forest won the North American Book Award in Historical Fiction, and her first novel was nominated for an Edgar Award. Her short stories have appeared in the Iowa Review, Massachusetts Review, Carolina Quarterly, Folio, and other journals. A recipient of a California Arts Council Fellowship, she teaches creative writing for Stanford University’s Continuing Studies Program and UC Berkeley Extension.