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Reviewed by Luwi Nyakansaila for Readers' Favorite
The year is 1843, and Joseph Carter is a farmer in the small town of Changewater, the setting for A Shadow of Doubt by G. Gordon Long. Like many other farmers, he is trying to make a living to support his wife Olivia and their children. Unfortunately, the townsfolk do not like him. Despite all this discrimination, Joseph does not want to leave. When the people of Changewater find themselves falling on hard times, they decide to take out loans to solve their problems and Joseph was no exception. Unlike other townsfolk, he has a backup plan. Joseph's wife has a rich uncle, John B. Parke, that helps him pay some of his debt. Joseph decides to practice financial discipline and saves money to pay off his debtors. His plan works, and he saves his land. The unexpected happens when John B. Parke and the members of his household are found murdered. This enrages the townsfolk, who decide to seek vengeance. Joseph is the prime suspect due to his financial history with John, and a trial to prove his guilt begins.
A Shadow of Doubt by G. Gordon Long is a novel inspired by true life events that took place in Changewater. It is sad to realize that the thirst for vengeance in people could be so strong. All the odds were against Joseph during his trial, and what happened to him was unfortunate. This story put me through many emotions. The author did not pull any punches and he was precise with the types of emotions he wanted to evoke. Long did a fantastic job writing a picture-perfect representation of the era's culture, speech, and lifestyle. Even after so many years, human nature has not changed. We are still going through similar situations as a society. People are persecuted and prejudged against based on their background, race, or just because they are different. I loved the quotes at the beginning of every chapter because they gave a glimpse of what was to come and kept me glued to the book. I enjoyed reading the somewhat cryptic but satisfying end in the final chapter. I wish to read more of this author's books because this was an exceptional work.