Set in late 18th-century Philadelphia, Voices Beckon spans seven years in the lives of three young Britons who cross the Atlantic in search of a new beginning. David, a Scot indentured for the next six years to a Philadelphia printer, and Elisabeth, a young English girl with class-conscious, widowed father, fall in love on the journey. Liam, an orphaned Scot with a checkered past, forms a fast friendship with them both.
Rich in historical detail, the story chronicles their coming of age against the vivid backdrop of the developing United States of America.
Graham (A Thimbleful of Honor among other historical romances) vividly renders the sweeping tale, capturing the flavor of the distant American past with memorable detail and convincing, pleasing dialogue: “Don’t call me darling. You never did before. It begs the question if you’re certain to whom you are speaking.” Highlights include the first Fourth of July, Philadelphia’s first manned balloon launch, and scenes in Benjamin Franklin’s print shop, which is, as David attests, “a never-ending round of mindless work that begins again as soon as it’s finished.” As she establishes the social and political milieu, and offers welcome detail about her characters’ jobs and the everyday life of the early Republic, Graham’s narrative momentum never gets bogged down.
Readers who appreciate the complexity of history will welcome Graham’s clear-eyed treatment of slavery, indentured servitude, and issues of class. A twist of inheritance in the final chapters involving a founding father might strain reader credulity, but the romantic storytelling is rooted in the actual facts. Sweeping over almost a decade of American life, Voices Beckon offers a winning romance against a finely realized backdrop that will appeal to lovers of history.
Takeaway: A sweeping early American romance, set in a vivid Philadelphia at the dawn of the republic.
Great for fans of: Alyssa Cole, Donna Thorland.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A