Heartbreaking and wise, Rush Home Road tells the life story of Adelaide Shadd, who finds redemption in old age, and Sharla, a five-year-old mixed race girl abandoned to Addy’s care by her white mother. Born in the first decade of the 20th century in Rusholme (inspired by the real town of Buxton), in southwestern Ontario, an all-black community settled by fugitive slaves, Addy Shadd is raped as a teenager and forced to flee the family home. She makes her way on foot to Detroit, where she becomes the housekeeper for an elderly man and his grown son, both of whom develop a crush on her. When misfortune strikes again, she sets off to make a new life for herself in Canada. Thrown off the train at Keating, not far from her birthplace, she meets and eventually marries the train porter, the wonderful Mose, with whom she has a daughter. But when tragedy strikes, Addy is left alone.
Now an old woman, she lives a quiet existence in a trailer park near Chatham. Her whole world changes when a young mother asks her to babysit her daughter, as it soon becomes clear that the mother is never coming back. Addy is glad of the company, but not sure if she’s up to the job of mothering this sweet, awkward five-year-old. Nor is she sure how much longer she’ll be around to do so. How she manages is part of the story of this brilliantly captivating novel.
Written with verve, grace and unflinching emotional acuity, Rush Home Road is an epic story that explodes our notions of identity, justice, and heroism, penetrating one of our darkest periods with profound insight and humanity. Addy Shadd is a protagonist like no other — full of quiet, steely bravery and tenderness of heart. This spellbinding novel will leave no reader untouched.