I decided to switch gears with genres and go with some historical fiction (a theme that I think is gonna stick for a while) for my next read–so I give you Yellow Crocus. If you’ve followed the blog for awhile now, you know that I’m really into anything that touches on slavery–it’s just a time in history that I have a lot of personal interest in. This is set in the mid 1800s in Virginia and is told from two perspectives: that of Mattie, and enslaved woman turned wet-nurse, and Lisbeth, the young girl that Mattie wet-nursed for. The book moves across time fairly quickly in the sense that when it begins, Lisbeth is just about to be born; and when it ends, she’s a young woman about to be married. This is a story of the harsh realities of slavery and the unlikely bonds that were still able to be made.
Mattie is a brand new mother to a three-month old son when she’s called away into the big house. She doesn’t know when she’ll get to leave to see him again and it breaks her heart. But the Misses is about to have a new baby herself and Mattie is to be her wet-nurse. Initially, Mattie resents the small baby, but it takes no time at all for her motherly instincts to kick in and a bond begins to form between them. As Lisbeth grows, so does her love for Mattie. In fact, she feels like Mattie is more of a mother to her than her own who is distant and cold. Mattie is given permissions to visit her family in the slave quarters on Sundays and in between that time, her and Lisbeth watch out the window every day for Mattie’s son and family–just so they know she’s still there watching over them. Soon, Lisbeth is ready to be taught how to be a proper lady and begins spending less time with Mattie and more time learning dances and attending dinners with all the other plantation kids. Lisbeth’s mother shows the most interest in her during this time–she’s hoping that her daughter catches the eyes of Edward, who comes from the richest plantation family in the area.
Once Mattie is sent back to the slaves quarters for good and her and Lisbeth’s worlds diverge, Lisbeth is faced with some challenges that go against everything she was raised to believe. She must decided who she truly is and put to use the values that Mattie instilled in her. Her decisions could make or break her family and change the course of her life forever.
This book gets a solid 5 stars from me! I’m sure loving the subject matter has a lot to do with it but also, Laila Ibrahim is an excellent story-teller. I really enjoyed the time setting, I LOVED the characters, and I felt like I could vividly see the entire setting from the way she wrote it. The story shifted more from Mattie and to Lisbeth’s perspective as it progressed and it was such a seamless transition. I think this story is told from a lighter perspective which doesn’t at all take away from the story but it’s certainly not as dark as slavery actually was. This is more light-hearted without compromising the history and I can appreciate that for the sake of a good story.
This was definitely the sort of story that I just wanted more of. I was about 4 chapters from the end of this book when I realized that there was a sequel of sorts–so of course I re-routed my March stack and squeezed Mustard Seed in immediately after I finished Yellow Crocus. I’ll have the review for that one up next. In the meantime, I’ve been trucking along with my historical fiction reads and one adult fiction that I can’t wait to write about.
Keep reading and enjoy the weekend!