Touched with Fire, a novel of the Civil War inspired by the true story of Ellen Craft. Awarded top Historical Fiction Gold Medal Award for 2016 by eLitAwards.
Ellen Craft is property; in this case, of her half-sister Debra, to whom she was given as a wedding gift. The illegitimate daughter of a Georgia plantation owner and a house slave, she learned to hate her own image, which so closely resembled that of her "father": the same wiry build, the same blue eyes, and the same pale - indeed, lily-white - skin. Ellen lives a solitary life until she falls, unexpectedly, in love with a dark-skinned slave named William Craft, and together they devise a plan to run north. Ellie will pose as a gentleman planter bound for Philadelphia accompanied by his "boy" Will. They make it as far as Baltimore when Will is turned back, and Ellie has no choice but continue. With no way of knowing if he is dead or alive, she resolves to make a second journey - south again. And so Elijah Craft enlists with the 125th Ohio Volunteers of the Union Army: she will literally fight her way back to her husband.
Eli/Ellie's journey is the story of an extraordinary individual and an abiding love, but also of the corrosive effects of slavery, and of a nation at a watershed moment.
©2013, 2014 Christopher Datta (P)2016 Christopher Datta
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"History Alive! Reads like fiction."
Yes, this is an excellent book with a heart warming story taken from an important period of history. It is the product of 10 years of research, yet reads like fiction. The story is empowering and well-written. It is populated with colorful historical characters that you will want to know.
That is a tie between Ellen Croft (Ellie or Eli), Joseph, and William. You cannot help but like Ellen because she is so determined and passionate. She is a strong, independent female character with grit and dignity.
William is an amazing person marked by bravery and decency. The way he stood up to the Reverend in Ellie's defense reveals his character. He is courageous but not ruled by his passions. He is smart and honorable.
Joseph is love embodied. He is gentle and kind. He keeps saving Eli's life even when she is ungrateful and wants him to go away. He is a character you admire.
No, I haven't, but this book has made me a fan. I certainly will in the future. He gives a unique voice to each character that he maintains throughout the book. One of the generals sounds just like Bill Clinton. He has excellent pacing and when he sings the scene on the train you don't hear Hugh Harper, you hear two Southern belles singing. Excellent performance.
I already answered this so I will write about some memorable scenes. As mentioned above, the scene where William stands up to the Reverend is incredibly well-written. The scene where Eli posing as a white planter gets drunk for the first time is both exciting and humorous. The scene where Eli meets General Grant also stands out in memory. This is an excellent book that covers important history. This story should be read by everyone.
While this is not a specifically Christian book, it incorporates Christian themes as an organic part of the story. It accurately captures the culture at the time (which was Christian). Christians will appreciate this book. It contains limited swearing that is authentic to the story. It is very well-written and historically accurate. It is not preachy. So secular folk would enjoy this as well. I received this book for free from the author, narrator or publisher in exchange for an honest review.
"Touched with Fire"
First, the listener needs to realize that this is historical FICTION, inspired by the life of Ellie Craft. As such, do not expect it to be historically accurate!
The first part of the book is heartbreaking as the author delves into the feelings of a quadroon slave who looks white but is treated like any other slave. Ellie is thought to be aloof when really she just doesn't feel accepted by the other slaves.
The middle of the book reads like a war story, so if that bothers you, don't bother reading it. I didn't expect so much battlefield action when I started reading. Also, Ellie becomes a much less sympathetic character in this part of the book.
The book is well-written & thought provoking. The narrator did a good job in giving each character a voice & made the book come aluve.
I would be interested to read the TRUE story of Ellie Craft. I was given the chance to listen to the Audible version of this book & chose to review it.
Listening to this book was very interesting, it was very well written so great job Christopher Datta, and Hugh Harper did a great job with the narration.
"Touched by Fire"
This was a very interesting and enjoyable read.Ellie craft was a slave.She was the daughter of a white master and black slave.She had white skin.She passed for a white plantation owner to sneak her husband and her self out of the south.With many twists and turns in this imagined rendition of their life,the story has a lot of adventure.It made me curious abut the real people.Hugh Harper was a fine narrator.I was given this book free by the author,narrator or publisher.
I'm unable to determine if the book is better than the print version having not read the print version\.
The most remarkable and memorable part of the book was the fluid change of narrators and how the story was told. Very well done.
The character of Joe. I found him the most compelling and memorable.
As to a moment, it was more the collective of the book. This is something that, I have learned, as to the subject matter, former slaves, of both sexes, fighting in the Union army. It was most interesting to read about this and to learn more about this. And after all, a good love story makes any story more interesting, right?
So this story was very good. The narration was top notch. I wanted to learn what happened and it kept me engaged. I believe that is the sign of a good book. That being said, listen with an open mind and keep in mind that the history of our country isn't always politically correct, but that it is our history and that overcoming it is what has made us the great country we are today.
"Well Written Historic Vifction"
I would recommend Touched with Fire: Based on the True Story of Ellen Craft to not only my friends, but especially to people who enjoy historic fiction during the civil war.Touched with Fire: Based on the True Story of Ellen Craft was both well written and well voiced. The narrator did an amazing job with the voices of the different people.
Ellen Craft was by far my favorite character I loved the fact that she fought and ran for her independence and freedom at a time where her heritage and her gender caused people to perceive her as lesser. The fact that Ellen managed to escape with her husband by pretending to be male, but took it a step further by enlisting in order to reunite with him was breath taking in its recklessness, craftiness, and devotion.
Touched with Fire: Based on the True Story of Ellen Craft was both well written and well voiced. The narrator did an amazing job with the voices of the different people.
The writer did an extremely excellent job in crafting an intricate and well developed story line and characters around a true event. I cried when Ellen and her husband were separated from each other at a point where they almost had their freedom.
"Ellen Craft's story was too farfetched for me"
I have mixed feelings about this audiobook. I am so glad the author took on the story of Ellie Craft and weaved an incredible story of heroism. But that is also part of the problem for me, parts of it were just that, unbelievable. The first part of this book was focused on Ellie as a young slave girl trying to navigate and come to terms with where she fit in with her family and community. The second part of the book was so heavy on war facts. I didn’t quite enjoy the second part as much because I couldn’t buy Ellie as union soldier hiding in plain sight so to speak. The narrator’s voice was okay, but the singing parts grated my nerves.
I found the author’s writing to be basic and rough in the beginning, but in the second part of the story, the author found his groove. In addition, the characters in this story under developed and too one dimensional. even Ellie. The slaves, Ellie's sister, even Ellie's actions were either black and white (pun aside). I found the transitions from scene to scene to be uneven. It just didn’t flow smoothly. It got better later in the book.
Ellen was born a “quadroon”, one quarter black and three quarters white. Ellie was born to a half white slave woman who was raped by her owner. The result was that Elle looked white, a fact that made clear her parentage. For most of her young life, Ellie felt angry that she wasn’t acknowledge by her father as his daughter, even though she knew she was a product of rape. Ellie was also angry at her half-sister for treating her like help, and not recognizing her as her sister and perhaps equal. The internal musings of why her father didn’t accept or acknowledge her as his own painted Elle as a child who saw herself as more than a slave. This also supports the other slaves claim that Ellie was uppity and thought she was better. Ellie never bothered to deny these assertions, thus incurred the scorn of the other slaves. So, for the first part of her life, Ellie didn’t see herself as a black slave.
When Ellie was barely a young adult, she had a violent encounter with the creepy Reverend. She began espousing views on her blackness that come out of nowhere to me. But this is part of the story I enjoyed most, When Ellie and William become a couple. There was love with this couple and I enjoyed seeing Ellie for the first time show genuine affection, need and concern for someone else. He made her appear vulnerable and more human so I liked this Ellie. Their attempt to seek freedom required Ellie to pass both as a white person and as a man, that’s when things went implausible for me. It’s one thing to for an illiterate slave to pass as a white person, but as a white slave owner and man traveling. There is more to pretending to be a man than wearing clothes. But Ellie pulled it off for six years as Eli where she was fighting, sleeping and leaving among other men. Either way, I couldn’t connect with Ellie as a young girl nor as this cantankerous union soldier. I really wanted to like her because I had empathy for her plight, but she just always came off as self-centered to me.
The ending of this story got predictable but it was satisfying. This subject matter is a sensitive one and I think the author gave the reader a hero to root for. I just would have liked a little more realism in emotion and actions by the characters. I haven’t read the actual account of Ellen Craft because I didn’t want it to color my opinion of this book. I will do so now.
"Better than I was expecting"
It is an intriguing story that you don't hear about when you are being taught American history. Ellen Craft is incredible and I wish we would learn more about this subject and womens' place in war and history.
While the topic is intriguing and appealing, it was slightly off-putting to find out the latter half of the book is fiction. With that being said, It was still a good book and I enjoyed it. The narrator's voice at times for was a bit mono-toned. However, his southern accent, at times, was able to cover that.
"Touched with Fire"
Touched With Fire
: Christopher Datta
I choose to treat this as totally a historical fiction even if some of the characters were real. Ellie/ Eli Craft an escaped light skinned slave escaped the south and spends years trying to rescue her husband William. The story follows as she transforms to Eli a white planter fighting for the north. It gives the listener an inside view of the horror of the Civil War.
The narration was well done.The characters were well portrayed by Hugh Harper.
"I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator."
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