Audiobook Review: River of Light and Shadow by Allen Kent

After mob violence threatens their lives, they flee to the wilderness

During Missouri’s Mormon Wars of the mid-1800s, the Whitlock family seeks to escape mob violence on the state’s western frontier by hiding in the rugged north Missouri wilderness where the Hill Spring Trail crosses the Chariton River. Here, in constant fear of discovery, David Whitlock meets and falls in love with Suzanna Shattuck, the independent and spirited daughter of a nearby settler.

>>Drawn together by love, divided by different worlds

As David and Suzanna struggle with their growing passion for each other and with the differences that separate their families, two other figures move inescapably toward each other and the young couple. In Jefferson City, legislator Jacob Randall champions the cause of Missouri’s outcasts while Sheck Rogers, a self-appointed Mormon hunter, roams the state murdering and mutilating those he suspects of belonging to a church against which the Governor has issued an extermination order.

>>>In this entrancing historical novel of love, fear, courage and redemption, two young lovers seek to find themselves and each other in Missouri’s untamed wilderness.

Their families struggle to survive the politics and passions of one of the nation’s most tumultuous periods. River of Light and Shadow touches the deepest recesses of the heart while provoking, inspiring and teaching in ways that characterize the best historical fiction. 

My Review

I chose to listen to this book after receiving a free audio copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

I’ve enjoyed historical fiction since I was a young teen and my dad suggested I read Blood Brother by Elliott Arnold. I’ve read quite a bit about early America, but this is the first book I’ve read about the Mormons and what they had to endure before they found their home in Utah.

This is the love story of David and Suzanna and the many obstacles they have to overcome. Luckily, Suzanna’s father is a sensible man, and he gives them his blessing even though he knows that David being a Mormon may cause difficulties.

The characters of David and Suzanna portray innocence and goodness. They make a life for themselves and even though they’re mostly happy where they are, I figured eventually David will feel the need to find a Mormon settlement.

The narrator did a good job. I was able to keep the different characters separate and the timing and pace were good.

I’m looking forward to listening to the second book in the series soon.

About the Author

Allen Kent is the author of the popular “Unit 1” thriller series, the Whitlock Trilogy in historical fiction, and a number of other mysteries and action novels. His books are published in electronic form by Kindle Press and in paperback by AllenPearce Publishers. He lives and writes in rural southwest Missouri.

Kent is a former Air Force pilot and educator who spent four years of his early life living in Iran and England. He has traveled and worked extensively in Europe, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia – experiences that are often reflected in his writing.
Writing as Kent Farnsworth, Kent has also published two works of non-fiction: “Grassroots School Reform” and “Leadership as Service.”

He and his wife Holly are avid travelers, gardeners, and conservationists, and live in an eco-friendly home near the community of Neosho.