Sixteen-year-old Belle Palmer has just escaped the clutches of slavery. In the bitter cold, she faces starvation, hypothermia, and the constant fear of being found by slave catchers. After five days of endless wandering, Daniel and Joanna Best, two free African Americans, discover and tempt Belle to their carriage with promises of food, warmth, and shelter. When Belle gives in, she finds more in the Best house than she ever dreamt of.

Cecilia Best and her husband, William, take in Belle as one of their own. After feeding her, treating her painful wounds and giving her a bed to sleep in, Belle feels better than she's ever felt in her life. As she befriends Joanna and helps Cecilia around the house, Belle falls for Daniel, who is betrothed to the town beauty. Belle also faces the threat of nearing slave-catchers, and hopes to find her lost father. With Belle's feelings growing stronger, and Daniel torn between Belle and his fiancée, tension grows.

Beverly Jenkins writes a captivating novel with the right combination of romance, history, action, and a dash of quick-witted humor. With well-sculpted characters and well-drawn setting, this is a perfect novel to interest teens into reading other romances. (May., 286 pp., $4.99)

Reviewed by: 
Ali DeGray