Title: Yellow Crocus
Author: Laila Ibrahim
From the publisher:
Mattie was never truly mine. That knowledge must have filled me as quickly and surely as the milk from her breasts. Although my family ‘owned’ her, although she occupied the center of my universe, her deepest affections lay elsewhere. So along with the comfort of her came the fear that I would lose her some day. This is our story…
So begins Lisbeth Wainwright’s compelling tale of coming-of-age in antebellum Virginia. Born to white plantation owners but raised by her enslaved black wet nurse, Mattie, Lisbeth’s childhood unfolds on the line between two very different worlds. Growing up under the watchful eye of Mattie, the child adopts her surrogate mother’s deep-seated faith in God, her love of music and black-eyed peas, and the tradition of hunting for yellow crocuses in the early days of spring. Yet Lisbeth has freedoms and opportunities that Mattie does not have, though the color of the girl’s skin cannot protect her from the societal expectations placed on women born to privilege. As Lisbeth grows up, she struggles to reconcile her love for her caregiver with her parent’s expectations, a task made all the more difficult as she becomes increasingly aware of the ugly realities of the American slavery system. When the inequality of her two worlds comes to a head during an act of shocking brutality, Lisbeth realizes she must make a choice, one that will require every ounce of the courage she learned from her beloved Mattie. This compelling historical novel is a richly evocative tale of love and redemption set during one of the darkest chapters of American history.
Beyond the traditional slavery story, this is told from the perspective of a white child. The plantation owners daughter. This unique perspective lets us into the world of how the people truly thought that they were doing what was best for their slaves. It also makes me think of how a person would be treated if they were to stray from the cultural norm. This story had me hooked right from the beginning. I found the circumstances so interesting I literally couldn’t put the book down.
The author’s professional experience as a doula made the nursing and childbirth passages realistic, but a little too much detail for me if I hadn’t have JUST had a baby. However, I am just one who doesn’t love reading in detail what breastfeeding feels like. There were a few places I felt this book had adult only content. For this reason I would only recommend it to a friend with caution.
I received this book from NetGalley. All opinions are my own!