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William Henry is a Fine Name

By Cathy Gohlke


It is 1859, and thirteen-year-old Robert is torn between loyalty to his abolitionist father and his mother’s slave-holding family.

After his best friend, William Henry, is trapped in a deadly scheme to protect secrets of the Underground Railroad Robert vows never to get involved again. But when he discovers his grandfather’s plan to sell his own son, born of a slave woman, Robert must decide whether to stand idly by or risk everything to help him escape.

William Henry is a Fine Name is a coming of age story, a tale of friends—and a nation—caught in the chaos of slavery, forced to take a stand.

Book Takeaway:

I hope readers will realize that we are not victims of our circumstances, but are free to choose what we believe and how we act upon those beliefs. I hope this book will help readers see that the Bible holds real life answers for our questions, and that a life spent believing in and honoring God is as natural as breathing.


Year Title Description
2007 Christy Award Young Adult
2007 Finalist ACFW Book of the Year Award Long Historical

Why the author wrote this book:

From the moment in childhood that I learned of the Underground Railroad I have been fascinated by that daring race to freedom and inspired by the courageous stories of its runners, conductors, and stationmasters. I also know what it is to be young, caught between those I love, and their ideologies. I grew up in the south during the Civil Rights movement, and have always known that the first book I would write would be about the Underground Railroad and the conflict over slavery.


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