The Liberator series / by Stephenia H. McGee. 10.22.2018

Leveraging Lincoln: A Civil War Novel / by Stephenia H. McGee. (The Liberator, 1)

Vine Press ISBN 9780997866018

Adult Rating: 5

Losing Lincoln / by Stephenia H. McGee. (The Liberator, 2)

Vine Press ISBN 9780997866025

Adult Rating: 5

Labeling Lincoln / by Stephenia H. McGee. (The Liberator, 3)

Vine Press ISBN 9781635640069

Adult Rating: 4

Caught in the middle of the Civil War, Annabelle Ross runs a hospital from her Southern plantation, sending partially recovered soldiers back to war and burying the rest. In Leveraging Lincoln, Annabelle is looking for any excuse to avoid marrying her step-uncle, a scheme that would allow her grandfather to claim her land. When a soldier passes her an urgent note for the Confederate army, she tries to fulfill his dying wish by delivering the message. She is apprehended as a spy until Matthew, a wounded soldier, helps her escape. Could his brother, a prisoner of war, have been her childhood betrothed and the only one who could help save her land? Or is Matthew planning to use the note to kidnap the Union president?

In Losing Lincoln, Matthew and Annabelle have escaped Booth’s president-kidnapping conspiracy and are searching for George, Matthew’s brother. Their prayers are answered when a flood allows George to escape his prison camp. Despite Matthew’s affection toward Annabelle, he leaves her to fall for his brother. Matthew follows one of the conspirators back to their crazed leader, O’Malley, in hopes of stopping the kidnapping. Will Matthew and Annabelle’s attempts to protect Lincoln be enough to save him?

Labeling Lincoln exposes the aftermath of the assassination of Lincoln. Annabelle, Matthew, and George are detained—despite trying to help the police. Believing he has no choice, Matthew signs allegiance papers to help the Union army track Booth and free his brother and love. After being kidnapped by a vicious O’Malley, Matthew’s chances of returning to Annabelle appear slim.

While the first two books focus on the plot with subtle moral lessons, the third book is more preachy. Ideas such as the evils of alcohol, lying, and hate turning into drunkenness, deceit, and demon possession pervade this final chapter. The answer to overcoming all these problems is love and God. Regardless of the overdone conclusion, this is a wonderful series.

Every detail of The Liberator trilogy proves author Stephenia McGee’s dedication to research. Her writing is clear and compelling, leaving the perfect amount of suspense to keep readers flipping pages. She chooses to focus on loveable, fictional characters to tell Lincoln’s story. Adult readers of historical fiction and romance will fall in love with this twist on Lincoln’s assassination.

Rebecca Schriner, CLJ