Moments after Lisbeth is born, she’s taken from her mother and handed over to an enslaved wet nurse, Mattie, a young mother separated from her own infant son in order to care for her tiny charge. Thus begins an intense relationship that will shape both of their lives for decades to come. Though Lisbeth leads a life of privilege, she finds nothing but loneliness in the company of her overwhelmed mother and her distant, slave-owning father. As she grows older, Mattie becomes more like family to Lisbeth than her own kin and the girl’s visits to the slaves’ quarters—and their lively and loving community—bring them closer together than ever. But can two women in such disparate circumstances form a bond like theirs without consequence? This deeply moving tale of unlikely love traces the journey of these very different women as each searches for freedom and dignity.
I have always wanted to read a good African American historical novel involving slavery. Now, I'm really grateful to have come across 'Yellow Crocus', as it has finally quenched my thirst.
April 1837, Fair Oaks, Virginia. Mattie, a young black slave is forced to leave her infant son to the care of her relatives at the slaves' quarters. She is taken inside the big house to be the wet nurse of the house mistress's newborn daughter Elizabeth. From here begins the wonderful story of a wealthy white girl and her black enslaved wet nurse.
Mattie takes care of this girl as if she were her own, nourishing her with her breast milk; the same milk that is supposed to be for her own son. As years go by and Elizabeth (Lisbeth) grows up into a young girl, she becomes attached to Mattie and loves her company much more than that of her haughty parents. It is to Mattie she goes when she's scared or has a problem. She even goes with her to the slaves' quarters whenever Mattie has permission to visit her family. But will this unusually strong loving bond between a slave and her mistress overcome the many hardships and the pressures imposed by society?
I really loved and cared for the two main characters, Lisbeth and Mattie, and I could imagine them as if they were real people I've known for ages. Reading this novel, I could almost see the big house at Fair Oaks with its glass windows shining in the setting sun, the slaves' quarters and the big willow tree in between. I could almost see the slaves bent down working in the tobacco fields and returning to their quarters exhausted after a long hard day.
Ms Ibrahim has made an impeccable job writing this novel. I really loved and enjoyed every single word of her exceptional prose and while I highly recommend this book to everyone, I will be looking for more novels by this talented author.