Underground Railroad

Book Review: The Candle Star by Michelle Isenhoff

Posted on Updated on

The Candle Star 

Written by Michelle Isenhoff 
Published November 8, 2011 by Create Space
Ages: 10+, 168 pages 
Genre/Topics: Historical Fiction, Slavery, Pre-Civil War 

After misbehaving and tantrums, twelve year old Emily Preston travels on a train to live with her uncle in Detroit, Michigan. She’s awaken into a new world. It is 1858, and Michigan has only recently been in the Union. Her uncle, Isaac Milford, owns a small inn and he desires Emily to help. Emily is disgusted that she’s forced to clean the inn, because she believes it isn’t her job to do servant’s work. She’s a Southern Belle who has difficulties removing her gloves and beautiful gowns to clean. Emily deeply misses her home on Ella Wood plantation in Charleston, South Carolina, and plans to create mischief to be sent back. She also attends school for the first time, since previously she was tutored. Emily meets new individuals who challenge her to think differently. One individual she meets is Malachi who is the son of a black slave and challenges Emily to think that even though their skin is different colors that they both deserve freedom. At first, Emily wants nothing to do with Malachi but slowly they become friends. While at the inn, she discovers Malachi and her Uncle Isaac help set slaves free. Emily’s family owns slaves on their plantation in South Carolina, so how will she respond to these new ideas?

I thought The Candle Star was very enjoyable. It was intelligent, thought-provoking, wholesome, and provided a glance into the daily life style before the Civil War. The reader learns about chores, school, illnesses, pastimes, and social issues. The Candle Star is the first book in the Divided Decade Trilogy. The Divided Decade Trilogy takes place before the Civil War, during, and picking up the pieces after the war. Each book stands alone, so they can be read out-of-order. For a limited time, Michelle Isenhoff is providing a special coupon at Smashwords to purchase The Candle Star for only $0.99. The coupon code is SH75H. 

Please visit the author’s website or blog to learn more about her books. She also provides classroom resources to use with her books.




    Malachi shifted on the railing. “Emily, you remind me of a wild thing trapped in a cage. I know how much you miss your home. You’re drawn out here to this porch, looking away south, waiting to be set free.”

A wagon rumbled by filled with load of hay.

“You’re not the only one waiting. There are others out there, trapped like you, looking to the north, drawn by the Candle Star.” He leaned out over the railing till he could see the bright light over the roof of the hotel. “But they’re held by chains.” …

“We hurt the same. We love the same. Our only difference comes down to color. We’re like two painted houses on the same street.”

“Why are you telling me this? Why do you care so much what I think?”

“Because underneath that proud white skin you have determination and a good heart. I respect you for it and consider you my friend.”

– Michelle Isenhoff (The Candle Star)

Book Trailer: