Books Magazine

Worthy Brown's Daughter by Phillip Margolin

By Gpangel @gpangel1
WORTHY BROWN'S DAUGHTER BY PHILLIP MARGOLINWorthy Brown's Daughter is 2014 Harper publication written by Phillip Margolin.  I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.The 1860's, Matthew Penny and his young wife make the journey from Ohio to Oregon where he wished to set up a law practice. Tragically on the journey Rachel dies in an accident. Bereft, Matthew continues on with his plans and sets up a law office in Portland. He isn't really doing all that well with the firm, when he becomes embroiled in a case involving a man accused of stealing money from a strikingly beautiful woman. The man is found guilty but Matthew is certain he was conned.On another note Matthew meets a charming young lady named Heather. For the first time since Rachel's death he feels like he could have a chance at happiness. Fate intervenes when Worthy Brown visits Matthew will a shocking revelation. In return for this information, Worthy wants Matthew to sue Worthy's former owner. Why? Worthy and his daughter Roxanne were made a bargain that would set them free from slavery. They did their part, but Worthy was the only one set free. His daughter is still enslaved and Worthy wants her released.
Matthew is faced the an unprecedented moral dilemma. He agreed to take Worthy's case, never suspecting the outcome of his involvement. In the 1860's Oregon was a new state and there were new rules or laws concerning slave ownership. Worthy, had a right to have his daughter returned, but once again fate intervened and Worthy finds himself imprisoned, facing the gallows. Can Matthew save him before it's too late?This is a compelling historical fiction mystery based in part on a real case. The attitude regarding blacks often led some to the helpless conclusion that they were not worth defending. They had no future, not way to educate themselves and very little money. This trap would lead Worthy to make a decision that would set a guilty man free, because he felt one man's life was worth more than another's.  Matthew disagrees vehemently and fights for justice however he can get it. In the meantime the beautiful con artist sets her sights on Heather's widowed father and attempts to take Heather's inheritance from her. Once more Matthew must try to bring the wily mastermind to justice once and for all.  So, there are two crimes Matthew is seeking to bring a close to. His future is also questionable as he isn't sure if he should try to tough it out in Oregon and maybe have a future with Heather, or to pack it all in and return to Ohio.  Matthew's character is very honorable, despite his flaws. He is pretty hard on himself at times. Heather is also a likeable person and I admired her for sticking with the man she loved through some shocking truths and very difficult times. The political and judicial corruption was alive and well in 1860 as much as it is today. Men were bribed, promised powerful positions and blindsided by their own goals and greed. There were a lot of bad guys in this one, all with an agenda of their own.
Overall this was an interesting crime drama that explored a painful period in our history. I give this one a B+

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