Note: There are NO spoilers in this review. When discussing in the comments, please provide a spoiler warning if needed.
All God’s Children by Aaron Gwyn follows Duncan Lammons and Cecelia as they each escape from their lives and journey to find a new and better future.
Duncan Lammons, a gay Texas Ranger during a time when when that can be life threatening, and Cecelia, a slave on the run, are both aiming for Texas – a land of freedom and independence.
The two begin their journey in the same year, 1827, and are connected through love, pain, and an unwillingness to have their freedom taken from them once again.
I may not have grown up on a ranch, but Cowboy runs through my blood. I felt it pulsing through me as I devoured every word of this novel. It’s a blend of Western and wild and passion and violence in a beautiful and subtle way that will catch you off guard.
Without over-amplifying suspense, I felt a constant nervousness and simmering feeling the worst was yet to come. Aaron Gwyn’s storytelling is flawless and kept pulling me through the pages. It was an impulse, a deep desire to keep reading.
Duncan’s narrative focuses on his journey to Texas and joining the Rangers to fight for freedom only to see Texas eventually become part of America, leaving him to flee even further into the frontier. We see his transition from a young man who is afraid of war to one who thrives off adrenalin and the pull of war.
The inner struggle Duncan faces when he realizes his true feelings toward the man he loves and his ultimate resolution to be honest with his feelings it’s heart wrenching and beautiful. Duncan ends up showing how deep his love is in the most selfless way possible. It’s probably my favorite part of the entire novel, but I’ll stop there for fear of giving away any spoilers.
While Duncan may be fighting wars for freedom, Cecelia’s perseverance in the fight for her own freedom is far more grueling and captivating. She leaves the “comfort” of her first home to continually drown deeper and deeper into the plantations of the South.
When she finally tastes freedom it is glorious but she still takes time to really believe it’s true. Cecelia’s journey shows us how far a person will go to have ownership of their own body and life. She’s fierce and unwavering.
I highly recommend All God’s Children by Aaron Gwyn. It’s a gorgeous Western Historical Fiction and will pull you through the pages.
Buy All God’s Children by Aaron Gwyn here at Kramers (Washington, D.C.) or at your local bookstore!
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