Starred review. In her sparkling debut, Johnson introduces vibrant and flawed Savannah heiress Keziah Montgomery, who comes of age as America hovers on the brink of the Civil War. Keziah, who should be a sought-after bride in aristocratic Savannah society, has epileptic seizures, a condition her family desperately tries to hide. Attending an abolitionist meeting with her childhood friend Micah Greyson, Keziah begins to understand how barbaric it is to own slaves and why they so desperately seek freedom. Despite Micah’s warnings, Keziah finds purpose as a conductor for the Underground Railroad. After Keziah’s brother is reported dead, Keziah’s ailing father becomes even more determined to see Keziah married to a man who can financially take care of the Montgomery women—one who’s not tainted by abolitionist ideals. Hiding a family secret of his own, Micah fears he cannot be the man Keziah needs. With more than a few twists and turns, Johnson crafts an inspirational tale of love, fortitude, and what it means to do the right thing when the very concept of “right” is challenged.
Engraved on the Heart brings Savannah, Georgia, during the Civil War to life. A book to savor and an author to watch!