Book Review: Deborah’s Gift #HistoricalFiction #WomensFiction

This is the last of the books I reviewed for the February edition of Historical Novels Review, the magazine of The Historical Novel Society.

This novel spans from 19th-century St. Louis to the island of Martinique and New York City in the 20th century.  When her controlling great-aunt dies, Deborah Huntworth, widow of a much older husband, can finally pursue her dream of becoming an artist.  She returns to Martinique to reunite with her child, but tragedy strikes, changing her life forever. She then moves to New York, determined to pursue her art.  There, despite disasters and mistakes, she attempts to share her work and support herself as the early 20th century unfolds around her.

Deborah’s Gift is the story of a woman who is intent on expressing herself, despite the attempts of others to control her.  She is a free spirit in both her art and her actions.  Her freedom of character explodes from the page, and we see quite a remarkable person who was born into times that tried to constrain her. There is an amazing cast of characters, who, whether wicked, judgmental, or loving, are vividly painted on the canvas of this book.  This portrait of a woman’s life is full of creativity, passion, tragedy, and loss.  It is a gripping read.  Fans of art and American history, plus anyone interested in the eruption of Mount Pelée in 1902, will be captivated.

My rating is 4.5 stars, rounded to 5 on sites with no partial star option.

I received a free copy of this book from New Wind Publishing via The Historical Novel Society. My review is voluntary and the opinions expressed are my own.


Lois Ann Abraham is a prize-winning fiction author and retired professor of English at American River College in Sacramento. She spent her formative years in Texas, the Panhandle of Oklahoma, and New Mexico, where she still has strong roots. Her pieces have been published in Sojourner, Chico News & Review, Writing on the Edge, Inside English, Burning the Little Candle, Convergences, and elsewhere. She lives on the banks of Chicken Ranch Slough in Sacramento with her sisters and two orange and white cats.



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