The Abolitionist’s Secret
In 1856 New York, eighteen-year-old Heather Fitzpatrick, a bashful abolitionist, falls for dashing young Army lieutenant David Whitman, who is tracking a runaway slave from his father’s plantation.
Despite their divergent views on slavery, romance ensues and an engagement quickly transpires. He wants her to accompany him home to Savannah, GA to meet his ailing father.
She longs to go to meet his parents, and possibly to secretly teach his father’s slaves how to read and write.
But she knows the South is no place for an abolitionist.
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“Kudos to Ms. Lower for writing a series that is different, the setting and subject matter unique and quite engaging.”--Tom Cordes
“Becky Lower has made me a fan for life, and I am waiting for book #3 with bated breath!”--Amanda L. V. Shalaby
“The more socially responsible twin falls in love with a dashing young army officer.”--Linda A. Smith
New York, April 1856
The hair on the back of Heather Fitzpatrick’s neck rose. She glanced around the opulent restaurant, trying to find the cause of her discomfort. Her eyes locked with those of a military officer sitting with two other men at a table across the room. A bolt of electricity ricocheted between them. Heather could not move for a moment, or break the contact. She finally forced her eyes away from him and placed the menu in front of her face.
“Whatever is the matter, dear?” Her mother asked. “Don’t tell me you are coming down with the same stomach upset that Jasmine has.”
“No, Mother, it’s nothing. I feel fine.” She placed a hand on her stomach, willing it to stop fluttering about.
“Mr. and Mrs. Fitzpatrick, how nice to see you again.” Thomas Downing, a free man of color and the owner of the restaurant, came to their table. “And young Miss Fitzpatrick.” He nodded in Heather’s direction.
Heather’s mother, Charlotte, glanced up from the menu. “Hello, Thomas. We’re here tonight to sample some of your exquisite oysters.”
“Why, thank you, Mrs. Fitzpatrick. That’s a mighty fine compliment, coming from you. Now, may I start you off with your usual appetizer?”
Heather’s father, George Fitzpatrick, answered, “I see no reason to break with tradition, Thomas.”
As Thomas departed to see to their appetizers, Heather said, “I love coming here. You know, my friend Mary Rose told me her family would not dream of coming to any restaurant owned by a Negro, regardless of the quality of the food.”
“Fortunately, we’re a bit more enlightened than that,” her father replied quietly. “We’ve known Thomas, and his son George, for a long time now, and we know the good they do for the cause. If, by us patronizing their restaurant, it enables them to help one more person, we are happy to come here.”
Charlotte turned her attention to Heather and George. “It’s so nice to have this quiet evening before we begin the season in earnest. Shall we toast to a successful Cotillion?” She raised her champagne flute.
George clinked his glass to hers, and added, “Here’s hoping we can marry off both of our twins without any touch of scandal coming our way this year.”
Heather giggled. “Oh, Papa. Neither Jasmine nor I are anything thing like Ginger. We won’t give you any cause for concern.”
Charlotte’s glass clinked lightly against Heather’s. “Well it’s true you two have been looking for a husband since you were born, so I don’t think our ultimate goal of finding suitable mates for you will be a problem.” Charlotte’s laughter joined Heather’s as they sipped their champagne.
“Excuse me, but aren’t you Mr. and Mrs. Fitzpatrick?” A deep voice broke into the festivities. All three Fitzpatrick’s turned to look at the man who spoke. Heather’s heartbeat stuttered as the officer who had been across the room now stood only a foot away from her.