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In the Upper Country - a rich historical tale and an impressive debut.

During the summer of 1859 in the Canadian town of Dunmore, a bi-racial woman, Lensinda Martin becomes involved in a murder case which becomes very personal to her. Dunmore is an all-Black community and a stop on the Underground Railroad. Lensinda is a reporter for the Coloured Canadian newspaper. She is also a healer. When an American bounty hunter arrives in town looking for six fugitive slaves, the man is shot by an elderly woman named Cash, who is one of the people he is seeking to capture. Lensinda is called in to help but the man dies, and Cash is taken to jail. Lensinda is then asked to meet with Cash to get her story to help in her self-defense case. When the two women meet, Cash refuses to talk. Cash finally agrees to tell her story if Lensinda will also swap tales with her. And here begins a series of stories including those that revolve around the relationship between Black slaves and the Indigenous Canadians during the War of 1812.

In the Upper Country, an impressive debut by author Kai Thomas, is a unique book in the way the story is told and its subject matter. The interwoven tales told by both women through dialogue and text required careful keeping track of. But it was worth it as the stories ended up with a greater meaning than suspected. This is a rich book that was extremely interesting featuring two very different female protagonists - one a former slave and the other, a free, educated woman. And while different in background, they shared the trait of having great strength and determination. I appreciated learning more about this time in history, which is one of the reasons I gravitate towards historical fiction books.

Rated 4 out of 5 stars.

Historical Fiction.

Publication Date: January 10, 2023.

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