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Book Review: The Third Mrs. Galway

The Third Mrs. Galway was written by Deirdre Sinnott and published by Kaylie Jones Books in 2021. You may purchase it at Visit the author on Amazon and Facebook.

It’s 1835 in Utica, New York, and newlywed Helen Galway discovers a secret: two people who have escaped enslavement are hiding in the shack behind her husband’s house. Suddenly, she is at the center of the era’s greatest moral dilemma: Should she be a “good wife” and report the fugitives? Or will she defy convention and come to their aid?

Within her home, Helen is haunted by the previous Mrs. Galway, recently deceased but still an oppressive presence. Her husband, injured by a drunken tumble off his horse, is assisted by a doctor of questionable ambitions who keeps a close eye on Helen. In charge of all things domestic is Maggie--formerly enslaved by the Galway family and freed when emancipation came to New York eight years earlier.

Abolitionists arriving in Utica to found the New York State Anti-Slavery Society are accused by the local papers of being traitors to the Constitution. Everyone faces dangerous choices as they navigate this intensely heated personal and political landscape.

In 1835, within the city of Utica, New York, as well as in cities and towns all across America, there existed people who harbored beliefs that were in stark contrast with their neighbors. Those differences were so raw with emotion and deep rooted embedded principles of God, family and country that they would shed blood to uphold their truths. Some brought voice to their passions: Some said, "Negroes were better off as slaves..." Others said, "If a man sees a great wrong, it is his duty to oppose it." These are the foundations of this story as a small boy and his mother escape the torturous and deadly clutches of slavery and head north into New York state where slavery was abolished in July of 1827. But, there are still legal slave catchers around who want to return "stolen property" back to their owners in the south. The mother and her child are caught in a sudden thunderstorm and take cover in a shed on the property of a wealthy Utica man and then the story heats up and brings others into a dramatic drama of morality, where lives will be changed forever.

This is Sinnott's debut novel and what an incredible tale she weaves. The characters enriched me with their personalities and even more deeply they touched my emotions with their humanity. What stood out for me in this timely piece of historical fiction was the shock that 186 years later, in 2021, our humanity is still struggling with issues of equality and many are eager to shed blood to satisfy their beliefs and their deep seated hatred.

I had a hard time saying good-bye to these wonderful people of the 1800s as I reached the last page. I would sincerely and respectfully ask Deirdre Sinnott to not let them disappear and to bring them back into our lives. They have much more to say to us and we, as a nation, have a lot more to learn.

I predict that this book will soar up the best seller lists. This author has a lot to look forward to. This is a must read.

I give The Third Mrs. Galway 5 out of 5 stars.

Deirdre Sinnott is a scheduled guest on The Writers Lounge Blog Talk Radio Show #96 on August 23, 2021.

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