Born to the Zulu tribe, but raised in England by her aunt, Amanda Smith reads of the wild American West and dreams of following her heart to this new land.

Upon her aunt's death, Amanda takes her inheritance and goes after her dream. She takes a position as a governess on a ship bound for America where she meets Rollin and Melody, two African-Americans involved in the abolitionist movement.

Rollin's brother Jacob, an escaped slave, has kidnapped his own daughter to get her to freedom. Amanda volunteers to help accompany the child to safety.

Embittered by his wife's death and the injustice and cruelty he has suffered, Jacob is emotionally scarred. To Amanda he is a coarse, sensual man filled with hatred, but her heart goes out to him despite Jacob's lack of gratitude for her help.

Fleeing slave catchers and finding a friend in the good-hearted Irishman Kevin McCarthy, Amanda learns the good and the bad about her new homeland. In spite of herself, Amanda is smitten with Jacob, but it is a long road to freedom she has to undertake with him.

Coming close on the heels of the TV mini-series "Children of the Dust," FREEDOM'S SONG is both a sweet and sensuous tale that allows Ms. Williams to trace a neglected part of the history of America and its African people. SENSUAL (June, 342 pp., $4.99)

Reviewed by: 
Cyndie Dennis-Greer