David Beasley,
Sarah's Journey
(Davus, 2004)

David Beasley writes fiction and nonfiction. Sarah's Journey is set in the United States and Canada in the 1800s. Sarah, a half-negro girl, is born into slavery in Virginia but flees in 1820 to freedom in Canada, where there is no slavery. The story starts when Sarah is 16 years old and follows her life to her death in upper Canada. As the story unfolds, Sarah encounters the violent face of racism that marks her life as a slave and later on as a free woman. She has a lot of children, many of whom are white. What is going to happen to them? Are they going to be regarded as slaves forever?

Sarah is a heroine of admirable courage and spirit whose saga is inspiring and positive. She overcomes the difficulties in her life with optimism and helps other people cope with their lives. The author has managed to depict a real-life character in the most skillful way and make the readers identify with the plight of Sarah, who is struggling to gain the privileges she was denied. This story is a document against racial prejudice and is based on real events and characters. The author's views on racism are echoed in many parts of the story such as these quotes: "If blackness was a stigma in society then she would bring up her children as whites," and "They think of black and slavery together now." Although it is a historical novel it is by far very different from the other novels of this kind as it presents a historical account worth reading.

Sarah's Journey is a real page-turner. The reader follows Sarah's life step by step and is curious to know what happens next; once started, this novel will be read from cover to cover. The novel includes elements of romance and mystery and a lot of adventure to keep the readers' interest intact. The writing style is rich and complex at times, yet simple and easy to read by all kinds of readers. It caters to a wide readership but those who are keen on historical novels will love it best.

by Liana Metal
2 December 2006

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