Monday, May 29, 2017
Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim
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 tender care of Mattie, Lisbeth 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. In time, Lisbeth realizes she has freedoms and opportunities that Mattie does not have, though she’s confined by the societal expectations placed on women born to privilege. As Lisbeth grows up, she struggles to reconcile her love for her caregiver with her parents’ expectations, a task made all the more difficult as she becomes increasingly aware of the ugly realities of the American slavery system. When Lisbeth bears witness to a shockingly brutal act, the final vestiges of her naiveté crumble around her. 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, loss, and redemption set during one of the most sinister chapters of American history.
About The Author
Laila Ibrahim grew up in Whittier, California on the eastern edge of Los Angeles County, and moved to Oakland, California to attend Mills College where she studied Psychology and Child Development. After getting a Master's Degree in Human Development, she realized she wanted to do more hands on work with children, and opened up her own preschool: Woolsey Children's School. Her education and experiences as an educator and parent provide ample for her writing – especially her study of Attachment Theory and multiculturalism.
Laila self-published Yellow Crocus in 2011 after agents repeatedly told her that no one would want to read a story about the love between an enslaved black woman and her privileged white charge. Over the years the readers have proven them wrong. She became a full-time writer in 2015.
She loves calling or Skyping into bookclubs and public speaking. She can be contacted at email@example.com.
The Yellow Crocus held my attention and quickly became a page-turner, and I read it in one sitting.
A look at a sad time in our history, but it happened and we put faces to this brutality, first with Mattie, born a slave, and Lisabeth, daughter of the slave owner. I felt Mattie saved Lisabeth in more ways than one, and I can think of at least three instances she did save her life.
The author did a wonderful job presenting these strong women, and Lisabeth is strong because of Mattie, and we get to watch her bloom.
I will warn you once you pick this up you better open up time, because you won’t be able to put it down.
I received this book through Net Galley and Flaming Chalice Press and was not required to give a positive review.