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Reviewed by Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers' Favorite
David Chadwick transports the turmoil of the US Civil War to Liverpool, England, in his historical novel, Liberty Bazaar. An escaped slave, Trinity Giddings, finds safety and friendship among the affluent of Liverpool. However, even across the ocean, far from the bondage of the plantation in South Carolina, society holds her captive. Trinity finds herself in the middle of another societal feud – a battle of moral obligation. Ironically, Trinity’s path crosses with a Confederate General, Jubal De Brooke. The Ladies Forum of Liverpool is to hold a Grand Liberty Bazaar to aid the families of Confederate prisoners held in the North. Aware of this, the War Department sends General De Brooke to England on a diplomatic mission to gain support for the Confederacy. Both De Brooke and Trinity are betrayed, and find themselves caught in the crossfire between ambition and justice. There’s “no shortage of devious folk” in Liverpool.
David Chadwick’s prose is brilliant in Liberty Bazaar. He pens a story about a familiar time in history, but gives the reader a different and fresh perspective. Most Civil War novels are set on the battleground or on the plantation. Adding a bizarre twist to a well known event, Chadwick highlights the plaguing effects of battle and slavery on the southern plantations by placing the narrative in Liverpool, England. Written in first person, each chapter portrays a sequence of events. However the personal perspective changes from chapter to chapter. This technique allows the narrative to be read like a journal or a diary. Trinity and Jubal’s characters grow and arc dramatically, allowing for the saga to crest and then ebb with precision and poise. Chadwick writes eloquent descriptions by using illustrious metaphors and profound analogies. I especially liked the comparison of feminine attire with medieval armor. Liberty Bazaar is a wonderfully written story.