The Road to Devotion by Cameron Kent

You probably know Cameron Kent as a news anchor at WXII-TV in Winston-Salem and may not realize that he is also a novelist—and a good one, too!

The setting for The Road to Devotion is the Winston-Salem area, shortly before the Civil War.  Sarah Talton, despite her father’s lifelong struggle to instruct her in farming skills, does not enjoy that occupation.  As the novel opens, Sarah’s father has died, leaving her, at thirty-four years old, to keep the farm profitable enough to sustain herself and her younger sister.  Since she has developed few of the skills that her father attempted to teach her, her endeavors do not meet with much success.  The one bright spot in her life is her love for a handsome Frenchman, but, since she knows no French and he speaks little English, the development of a romance between them seems unlikely.

Sarah inherited her father’s slaves and accepts her role as a slaveholder without much thought.  Then she acquires a most remarkable slave, who helps her with her romantic and financial goals—and causes her to question her views on slavery.

The developing relationship between Sarah and the slave, along with Sarah’s changing views, kept me fascinated.  Although the story is fiction, Kent read widely so that he could portray the historical setting accurately.

Several years ago, I read Kent’s When the Ravens Die, and I was also impressed by that novel, which portrayed an imaginary British royal family in modern times.

(Helen Snow, Information Services)

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