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Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite
Pad Pennywell by Patrick Horn is a story with powerful hints of the historical era characterized by slavery. It is just after the war and former slave Pad Pennywell has his freedom and is looking forward to a new start with his wife and daughter. But he and his loved ones are taken captive by the dreaded John West, a psychopath and a ruthless murderer. There is only one person who can set them free - Dan Dean, the gunslinger who desperately wants to redeem himself, but does he stand a chance or are Pad and his family headed for far worse than slavery?
This is a moving story based on true events The narrative opens with vivid descriptions that allow readers powerful and clear images of what life looked like at the time the story takes place. “A wood stove heats a small room with walls that are painted pale green. The distinct aroma of a freshly stirred fire emanates through the house. It’s a rainy cold day and outside play is out of the question. I sit crossed legged, waiting for my grandfather to sit down in an old dusty tan recliner so that I can ask him one question. ‘Paw paw, will you tell me about the outlaws again?’”
The prose is exquisitely good and it is punctuated by dialogues that reflect the culture and background of the characters. I enjoyed the author’s handling of conflict, the skillful development of themes like family, slavery, adventure, violence, and more. The characters are fleshed out, likeable, and real. Pad Pennywell will arouse powerful emotions in readers — one feels angry and compassionate in following what the protagonist goes through. It’s a strong evocation of a historical period that is easily forgotten when looking at social injustices. It is a page-turner!