Reviews2018-07-18T01:37:52+00:00

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“This historical novel revealed a little known piece of history. The book was well-written and an easy read. It is my understanding that the big old tree still stands under whose branches Mary Peake first braved teaching young black children to read. It might be worth a field trip to visit the sight.”

—M. Paulette Galliker

“Inspiring and Informative Historical Novel – Unlocking Freedom’s Door is an inspiring historical novel that offers a fascinating glimpse into the lives of two real and remarkable people during the early days of the Civil War. It relates and intertwines the stories of Mary Peake, a free black woman in Hampton, VA who secretly teaches slave children (contrary to the prevailing laws in the state of Virginia), and General Benjamin Franklin Butler, the newly installed Union commander of Fortress Monroe adjacent to Hampton. The story centers on the (historically accurate) decision by Butler to provide refuge and asylum to escaped slaves who had been pressed into the service of the Confederate Army. The book is very well researched, and the descriptions of historical events, historical figures, and even the geographic features of the setting (the Union Fortress Monroe being on a strategically located yet isolated peninsula within the boundaries of Confederate Virginia) provide a clear and interesting basis for the story to unfold. The historical arc of the story extends to the present day – google Emancipation Oak, and you will understand. Hampton, VA is now on my history travel bucket list!”

—Michael Callahan

“For those who love a human interest story, intertwined with historical fiction, this is a perfect read for you. It is always interesting to read the story of a person who positively contributed to the shaping of this wonderful country we live in. Hard to imagine living in a time when equal rights did not exist. Mary’s love for people, and her respect for education show you that we all can make a difference by acting on our convictions and dreams. Thoroughly enjoyed this read! It was a learning experience for me….”

—Kathleen A. Leverone

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