By Phillip Margolin
Harper, $26.99, 352 pages
In Phillip Margolin’s story about a young attorney in the 1860s, Matthew Penney and his wife Rachel leave Ohio and set out for Oregon. During their journey, Rachel is drowned in a river crossing, leaving Matthew bereft. Upon arriving in Portland – then a small, muddy riverside town – he begins his law practice, and is soon caught up in a life-altering case involving freed slave Worthy Brown, who is working to save his daughter from his former owner.
Margolin, who has authored many bestselling crime novels, spent many years contemplating this story. He conducted thorough research into Oregon’s history in order to accurately portray the places and times. Following Matthew through a spiraling legal maze, this emotional story of suffering, chicanery and the pursuit of justice is an uplifting and informative journey to the past. Worthy Brown’s Daughter is not just well worth reading, but spell-binding and entertaining.
Reviewed by Fran Byram