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A Thin Porridge

When 19-year-old Abeona Browne’s renowned abolitionist father Jon Browne dies in summer of 1860, devastating family secrets are revealed, and her life of privilege and naiveté in Southern Michigan becomes a frantic transatlantic search for someone she didn’t even know existed.
Still in mourning, Abeona sneaks aboard the ship carrying her father’s attorney Terrence Swifte and his assistant Djimon—a young man with his own secrets—on a quest to fulfill a dying wish.
Along the journey, Abeona learns of her father’s tragic and terrible past through a collection of letters intended for someone he lost long ago.
Passage to the Dark Continent is fraught with wild beasts, raging storms, illness, and the bounty hunters who know Jon Browne’s diaries are filled with damning secrets which could threaten the very anti-slavery movement he helped to build.
Can Abeona overcome antebellum attitudes and triumph over her own fears to right the wrongs in her famous family’s sordid past?
So named for an African proverb, “A Thin Porridge” is a Homeric tale of second chances, forgiveness, and adventure that will whisk readers from the filth of tweendecks, into the treachery of Cameroons Town, across the beauty of Table Bay, and deep into the heart of the fynbos—where Boer miners continue the outlawed scourge of slavery.


Reader praise for A Thin Porridge

“A Thin Porridge is a coming-of-age story as well as a cracking adventure. There is so much to like about it, with plenty of … twists and turns.” —D.G.

“This book is incredibly fascinating! I was hooked and it had me thinking about it (and) what would happen to Abeona, even when I wasn’t reading it. I have never heard a story like this, told in this time period, from a woman’s point of view. I loved this story. Thank-you for a wonderful adventure.” —Rachel

“[A] knack for imagery, scene-setting, and conveying dialect. This writing is rich. I can almost smell the pipe smoke and hear the accents. Historical fiction sometimes gets cumbersome when writers spend too much time trying to illustrate an authentic time period. (Benjamin) achieves it effortlessly. Some of these sentences are just jaw-dropping! The true testament for me is: Do I tense up when the situation is tense? Do I tear up when I’m meant to be saddened? And I must say, this book got to me.” —T.H.

“I like how the backstory is relayed in the form of Jon Browne’s journals.” —Sheila

“It brings a fresh perspective to an old idea and avoids cliché at the same time. The plot twists were unexpected. Everything is built into the flow of the story brilliantly. The descriptions are vivid and immerse the reader into the story in such a way that you are in the wilds of Africa with Abeona. It was a grand adventure for Abeona and … it was great to be part of that. The obvious love and dedication that went into the piece … shows in the writing and the accuracy to the era. There were times when I went and verified something because I wasn’t sure, and whatever I looked at would be spot on.” —Brandee

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