The Hidden Light of Northern Fires

The Hidden Light of Northern Fires

A Novel

Book - 2017 | First edition.
Average Rating:
Rate this:

"Splendid--a distinctive clear-eyed perspective on a fresh corner of the Civil War." --Charles Frazier, New York Times bestselling author of Cold Mountain

"A wise and timely book." --Ron Rash, New York Times bestselling author of Serena

Rooted in the history of the only secessionist town north of the Mason Dixon Line, Daren Wang's The Hidden Light of Northern Fires tells a story of redemption amidst a war that tore families and the country apart.

Mary Willis has always been an outcast, an abolitionist in a town of bounty hunters and anti-Union farmers. After college, she dreams of exploring the country, but is obligated to take over the household duties and management of her family's farm, while her brother Leander avoids his own responsibilities. Helping runaways is the only thing that makes her life in Town Line bearable.

When escaped slave Joe Bell collapses in her father's barn, Mary is determined to help him cross to freedom in nearby Canada. But the wounded fugitive is haunted by his vengeful owner, who relentlessly hunts him up and down the country, and his sister, still trapped as a slave in the South.

As the countryside is riled by the drumbeat of civil war, rebels and soldiers from both sides bring intrigue and violence of the brutal war to the town and the farm, and threaten to destroy all that Mary loves.

Publisher: New York : Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press, 2017.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781250122353
Branch Call Number: FIC Wang
Characteristics: 302 pages : maps ; 25 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Oct 12, 2017

Interesting historical fiction based on a real woman and the northern town she lived in near Buffalo, NY that seceded from the union. I have mixed feelings about this book. I enjoyed the parts about Mary - the strong willed abolitionist, and Joe - the runaway slave that she helps. The parts about Mary's no-good brother Leander, and Joe's owner Yates, weren't as good. It seemed like the sections with Mary were written with more feeling and depth, whereas the sections on Leander and Yates were filled with more staccato like sentences listing their misery and troubles. Also, definitely not a feel good book as many characters end up dying. An OK read for historical fiction fans.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at VPL

To Top