“Wild Conviction” by Mary Dezember“Wild Conviction” by Mary Dezember https://www.readerviewskids.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/WildConviction-663x1024.jpg 663 1024 Reader Views Kids Reader Views Kids https://www.readerviewskids.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/WildConviction-663x1024.jpg
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Brilliant Moon Press (2023)
Reviewed by Kathy Stickles for Reader Views (01/2024)
I simply adore a historical fiction book that is accurate and interesting but, when combined with magnificent writing and incredible characters, the book becomes even more of a success. I can happily tell you that “Wild Conviction: Sixteen is Power” by Mary Dezember is just such a book and, in my opinion, a complete homerun for this author that will pull in both young adult and adult readers from the very first page.
“Wild Conviction” is the story of Twilight Wild Adams who, on her sixteenth birthday, received a very special letter from her GrandMama which completely changed her life. The year is 1858 and the country is on the brink of a civil war with slavery being the focus of the problems within the United States. So many things are going on in this young woman’s life… she is in love with Gallatin, a man she has known for many years, but he is in love with piloting boats on the Mississippi; she has a new beau who is a true southern gentleman, or at least that is what Twilight believes, who wants to marry her and bring her to live on his family’s plantation; she has to live with a mother and sisters who abhor everything that she believes in; and she cannot stay silent as she watches the effects slavery has on those around her.
As Twilight spends her time trying to make others understand her views and why slavery is so wrong, she has to deal with family and community members who think she should just be quiet and not make waves. Moving to a huge plantation after receiving many promises from her husband-to-be that things will change and that he agrees with her views, Twilight finds a horrible situation where all of the enslaved laborers are children, and they are being treated in a way that she cannot accept or tolerate. As Twilight attempts to make changes she quickly learns that those around her will never allow it and the children being abused will never be fairly treated. Neither will she, especially if people learn the secrets she carries within her from her family’s past.
“Wild Conviction” is an amazing story that has a little bit of everything readers enjoy…history, romance, suspense, very strong characters, and just a little bit of magic to pull it together. Mary Dezember put so much research into this book to make the period come alive for readers and to connect the past to today. It is well-written, very accurate, and mesmerizing; and it is one that you cannot put down once you begin. The descriptive writing is wonderful, and the reader will feel that they are actually present at the time whether at a slave auction or having dinner on a huge plantation.
Each character in the story, whether you like them or you do not, is extremely well-developed, and watching them change or grow is a treat. Twilight, even at the young age of 16, is an extremely strong and vocal protagonist that the reader cannot help but fall in love with. The secondary characters, especially Twilight’s new and dark-skinned friend Ember, are wonderful additions to this story. Each character has a very special part in this novel and is a perfect fit for the main character’s life and attempts to make others understand her views.
There is absolutely nothing to say about this book that is not complimentary. “Wild Conviction” is a story that should not be missed by anyone. The story is one that shows each reader what life was truly like in the South at the very beginning of a horrible war and it shows life through the eyes of a character that will be remembered long after the book is finished. I cannot recommend it enough and truly hope to see another book by this amazing author very soon. 5 Stars!!!
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