Moses Wyman's horseback ride to Nicodemus, Kansas, is filled with emotion. He's been away from home at the young state capital of Topeka far longer than he planned. His young wife, Truth, has waited for Moses to be the first person to learn that she is pregnant with their first child. Within a few sentences, the reader is plunged into several threads of drama from 1882 in the first African American settlement on the plains of the Old West.
Moses breaks the news to his wife that he's been nominated to the office of State Auditor and, if elected, will be the first African American state official. The new job will require Moses and Truth to relocate to Topeka. Everyone around Truth is thrilled with the potential gain; despite praying that they will stay in town throughout her pregnancy, Moses wins the position and they move. Truth's twin sister, Grace Harban, comes from Nicodemus to help care for Truth in the final days of her pregnancy. Through complications Grace extends her stay in Topeka, which tangles some relationship matters back in Nicodemus.
In DAYLIGHT COMES, the third book in the Freedom's Path series, Judith Miller uses multiple plot threads to maintain a high reader interest and keep the pages turning. Hill City, Kansas is the sister city to Nicodemus, which is inhabited primarily by white people. Macia Boyle, the only daughter of Dr. Samuel Boyle, has returned to Hill City from an extended two-year trip to Europe. While she was away, her boyfriend and blacksmith, Jeb Malone, started a new relationship with Fern Kingston.
Unfortunately, Macia can't escape reminders of her old flame because Fern is the Boyle family housekeeper. Reluctantly, Dr. Boyle agrees to make a change if Macia can find another housekeeper. Through Macia's scheming, Fern moves to Nicodemus and cares for Truth's home when the Wymans move to Topeka. Macia is torn about her relationship with Jeb Malone, and the question grows more complicated when the handsome Garrett Johnson, nephew of the storekeeper, attempts to capture her affection.
Another key storyline is the arrival of the Faraday family. Mr. Faraday, a pharmacist, has an unusual number of men hanging around his business. Later, readers learn that he has a gambling problem and eventually he runs away. The high drama between Mrs. Faraday and her husband, and daughter Camille, serves to remind readers that addictions were also a part of prairie town life.
With vivid characters and detailed descriptions and research, readers are caught in a drama of well-crafted storytelling. Through the vehicle of historical fiction, we are reminded of our ever-present need to keep close to God and depend on Him for the ultimate justice of issues, which often can't be resolved easily. DAYLIGHT COMES is historical fiction at its best.
Reviewed by W. Terry Whalin on November 1, 2006