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A Song in the Night

Daniel Mills

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Status in production
Release Date Spring 2023
Limitation 24 copies
Size 13 × 24 cm
ISBN 978-3-949341-49-6
Edition lettered edition
Workmanship Thread-stitched hardcover, printed on finest Hahnemühle paper, bound in black linen with a red embossed cross and comes with red head- and tailbands and a black silk ribbon bookmark. It is housed in a slipcase into which a drawing after the portrait photo of Horatio Spafford, taken at the Pierson studios in 1873 not long after the loss of Spafford’s children in the Ville du Havre disaster, is incorporated. Signed by the author.


“A Song in the Night.” A new novella drawn from the life of the American writer and evangelist Horatio Gates Spafford, a deeply enigmatic figure remembered today as the co-author (with P.P. Bliss) of the gospel standard “It is Well With my Soul.”


In 1871 the Great Fire devastated Chicago, destroying Spafford’s downtown offices but sparing his home in Lake View. The city was left in ruins but the family had managed to avoid disaster. So it seemed, anyway, but Spafford threw open the door, invited it inside.

Chicago rebuilt, redistricted. Speculation was rampant, and Spafford invested everything, lost it all. The world unraveled around him as he borrowed from friends to pay his creditors. His friends gave up on him and he embezzled funds from clients and mortgaged the Lake View property before finally packing his wife and children off to Europe aboard the French steamship Ville du Havre.

The journey was likely as much an escape as a new beginning. Spafford planned to remain in Chicago for long enough to sell the house and settle his affairs (if, indeed, they could be settled) before joining his family in France, only to receive word that the Ville du Havre had sunk after a collision mid-ocean. The children were dead.

“Saved alone,” Anna cabled to him from Cardiff. “What shall I do Mrs. Goodwin children Willie Culver lost go with Lorriaux until answer reply Poulain 64 Rue Aboukir Paris.”