“Wixumlee Is My Salvation” is a sequel to “A Shocking & Unnatural Incident.” However, this book stands alone very well. Author Georgia Ann Mullen provides sufficient background as the story progresses to eliminate the need to read the previous book. However, that book is as good as this book and I recommend it highly, so get it and read it before you begin this book.
Tess, Coop, short for Cooper, and Beany are in Black Rock, New York trying to earn enough money to eat and have shelter. Coop appears to be on edge. Tess has become a frightened rabbit and seems to have become a victim. Beany appears to be ill and nearly catatonic. Even though the trio’s present situation appears bleak, slave hunters do not seem to know where they are nor do they appear to be hunting them. The trio may have been able to improve their situation, but we will never know because a mysterious white woman kidnaps Beany.
Tess focuses her attention on getting Beany back, but bodyguards and guns frustrate her attempts. Tess also sees something that leads her to believe that the enigmatic white woman is going to sell Beany to someone, though Tess is unsure who that someone is. In a strange twist of fate, Tess finds herself in the hands of the same person who kidnapped Beany. Tess senses something very strange and probably illegal about the haughty and mysterious white woman, but other than her fears, she is unable to find much evidence regarding the wrong doings of the white woman.
As with “A Shocking & Unnatural Incident,” Author Mullen ramps up the suspense as the story proceeds, springing surprises along the way that caught me off guard. The ending to this book was even more shocking, to me, than the ending of the previous book. I wish I could provide more explanations, but that would spoil the numerous surprises.
In many ways, this story is deeper than the previous story. Tess has gotten her wish and obtained freedom previously unimagined. Unfortunately, Tess learns that freedom is not all that it seems and frequently needs earned, or at least defended. Sadly, Tess has become a frightened rabbit and shies from doing anything requiring self-confidence. She has numerous opportunities to show her leadership abilities and to be a force for change and good. However, she either runs from the opportunity or makes a mistake, sometimes serious. Tess will need to face a significant shock to change her behavior.
Tess will also learn that not everything is at it first appears. Tess needs to gather enough facts to draw a logical conclusion rather than an emotional one. Tess’s inability to interpret events properly puts several lives in danger, including Coop’s, Beany’s and her own. Will everyone survive to the end of this story unscathed? You will have to read this fascinating story to learn for yourself.
I was impressed with Author Mullen’s ability in the previous book to bring the era and the characters to life. I would have thought there was little room for improvement, but she has grown in her story telling. As I read “Wixumlee is My Salvation,” I felt I knew and understood Tess. Indeed, I was amazed at the amount of cultural detail in this story, from food, to clothing, to speech, and even prejudices, Mullen’s novel is rich in historical detail. Except, this story is written as though she were writing about current events, which makes this novel an absolute treat.
Georgia Ann Mullen is a gifted writer who has coupled her knowledge and research of pre-Civil War America with a natural story-telling style to create two excellent novels. You need not enjoy historical novels to enjoy “A Shocking & Unnatural Incident” and “Wixumlee Is My Salvation,” though you might enjoy them even more if you do.
If you enjoyed “Tom Sawyer” and especially “Huckleberry Finn,” then try Georgia Ann Mullen’s “A Shocking & Unnatural Incident” and “Wixumless Is My Salvation.” If you enjoy historical fiction novels set in the years before the Civil War, then try Mullen’s two books. If you enjoy a well-written book about engaging characters from any era, then here are two winners.