Set during the Civil War, Michael Phillips' novel A Perilous Proposal challenges readers with the question of whether a slave can be free within himself. Such seems to be the case with Henry Patterson, an emotionally strong slave who serves as a stalwart role model for his son Jeremiah. After Henry runs to the North, the dying wish of Jeremiah's mother is that Jeremiah will go North and find his father. The journey takes years, and readers follow Jeremiah through his teen years, young adult years, and the eventual reunion with his father. Along the way, he encounters people from all walks of life who help to shape his personality, feelings about white people, and thoughts about America.
One character who has a tremendous impact on Jeremiah is Private Micah Duff, who convinces Jeremiah to join his Union Army regiment. At one point, Duff shows Jeremiah two chunks of wood and tells him that they represent people. One piece of wood is knotty and twisted and so misshapen it is not fit for anything except burning; but the other piece is smooth and solid with fine grains of wood that could be carved into a stair step, table top, or window sill. Duff tells Jeremiah that if he allows hatred and bitterness to form his life, he won't be fit for anything but burning.
The face-off between Jeremiah and his father Henry is sparked with wild emotions, but in time the two men try to resolve their differences. This is helped in great measure when Jeremiah falls in love with an orphan girl named Mayme, who attempts to replace Jeremiah's distrust and anger with love and loyalty.
I can recommend this book to adults and mature teens who are seeking to discover nuggets of truth about relationships and maturity, even when they are wrapped in a fictional story. -- Cheryl Cecil, Christian Book Previews.com
How I wished, in that awful fire-flickering moment when I could still see his face, that I had agreed to his proposal when I'd had the chance--in spite of the danger. But it was too late now....
A young black man in the South shortly after the War Between the States, Jake strikes out on his own, hoping to outrun his master and the consequences of an angry deed.
Carrying a grudge and his guilty secret, Jake heads north on a quest to find freedom and the father he has long resented. On the way, he discovers not only his long-lost papa, but two intriguing young women as well, one of them a former slave like himself.
Jake soon falls in love with a girl who has secrets of her own. But before she can answer his proposal, danger comes calling...
Will Jake learn to forgive his father--and himself --only to lose his true love...and possibly his life?