This entry is part 44 of 80 in the series Reviews

Book Review TWF GiveawayWelcome to the REVIEW EVENT for Chris Datta’s Historical Fiction Novel Touched with Fire! We have a great giveaway at the bottom of the post and hope you enjoy hearing about this fabulous book. But first, the details:

Book ReviewEllen Craft is property

In this case, of her half-sister Debra, to whom she was given as a wedding gift. The illegitimate daughter of a Georgia plantation owner and a house slave, she learned to hate her own image, which so closely resembled that of her “father:” the same wiry build, the same blue eyes, and the same pale—indeed, lily-white—skin.

Ellen lives a solitary life until she falls, unexpectedly, in love with a dark-skinned slave named William Craft, and together they devise a plan to run North. Ellie will pose as a gentleman planter bound for Philadelphia accompanied by his “boy” Will. They make it as far as Baltimore when Will is turned back, and Ellie has no choice but continue. With no way of knowing if he is dead or alive, she resolves to make a second journey—South again. And so Elijah Craft enlists with the 125th Ohio Volunteers of the Union Army: she will literally fight her way back to her husband.

Eli/Ellie’s journey is the story of an extraordinary individual and an abiding love, but also of the corrosive effects of slavery, and of a nation at a watershed moment.

Author: Christopher Datta

Genre: Historical/Women’s/African American Fiction



During the time of American slavery it was considered a given, at least publicly, by most southerners that most of the slaves did not want freedom, in fact they would not know what to do with it even if they had it. Never mind the fact that their were slave catchers and that numerous laws put into place to prevent slaves from even dreaming of freedom as an option. It was the lie behind their lives that allowed them to think of their slaves as something  less than human and therefor unworthy of anything but slavery. After all, weren’t they doing the slave a favor by providing them with food, shelter and a purpose?

Christopher Datta’s new book, Touched With Fire, tells the story of a woman born a slave who fights for her freedom, no matter the cost and puts a flame to the very notion that the appearance of obedience means contentment. Beneath the cool exterior burns a desire to be free, and if she has to live a lie to make that dream happen, then so be it.


There is a lot to like about this book. The author weaves a tale that keeps the reader hopping and  wondering when Ellie, the protagonist, will be discovered and exposed for who and what she is. The story is riveting and filled with action and suspense. Once I got started on this read I had a hard time putting it down and found myself talking to my wife about it before I would let her go to sleep. It is easy to get a sense for the places Ellie goes to and the people she meets.  While Ellie is definitely the focus of the story, the characters that surround her bring life to it and feed the inner and outer conflicts that she must face over the course of the novel.


The only negative comment I have on the book is a minor thing, and something that other might find ridiculous, but it bothered me, so I will mention it. The book is presented as the fictionalization of the life of Ellie, a real person that escaped from a life of slavery. In the Author’s notes we learn that everything beyond the second part is complete and utter fabrication. Mister Datta explains that it was done in order to advance a bigger story of the era, and I understand that, but I felt let down by the revelation coming at the end. I don’t know that being more up front about the departure from historical reality would have been any better since it would have given away much of the story, but it was still a punch in the gut for me.  I suppose you should consider this a compliment after a fashion because I was so invested in the story that to find so much of it to be pure fiction was a let down.


Go get this book. It is an excellent read with a very compelling story. The tension is exceptional and the inner conflict of Ellie is every bit as interesting as the larger conflict of her escape from slavery and her role as a soldier during the Civil War.

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Review Event Schedule:

21-AprMy Devotional Thoughts
21-AprDeal Sharing Aunt
22-AprJelly Side Up – Promo Only
22-AprOur Wolves Den
23-Aprrubina ramesh
23-AprThe Mama Games
24-AprMy Writer’s Cramp
24-AprThe World As I See It
25-AprI am indeed
25-AprRachel Delane
26-AprRick And Eileen Bremner
26-AprAuthor Interrupted
27-AprAnna Tan
27-AprPete Waugh
28-AprAlexa B
28-AprMichelle Willms

About the Author:

Born inBook Review Washington, DC Chris Datta, Foreign Service officer, has been on numerous battlefields for his job and country. He has seen mass graves, brought war criminals to justice and in this new chapter, Datta brings readers a stunning historical account of the American Civil War with Touched with Fire. His attention to detail is superb, and his experiences abroad have given him ample stories to tell for years to come.

His action packed life has taken him across the world from the United States to Liberia and Southern Sudan. Not only serving in active war zones but often battling tropical diseases, Datta has nurtured his fascination with civil conflict by diving into the history books and historical records of America’s past. His research is meticulous, and his attention to detail creates vivid pictures of the past.

Follow Chris on his website for updates about new releases and upcoming events:


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