Mustard Seed is the sequel to Yellow Crocus. I was so captivated by Yellow Crocus that I had to pick it up the second I learned it existed. This novel picks up in 1865 when slavery was abolished so it’s a pretty stark contrast from the climate of the preceding novel. We follow most of all the same characters but get a deeper look into Lisbeth and Jordan’s (Mattie’s infant daughter from Yellow Crocus) lives.
When we meet Mattie again, she’s got a grown son who has a family of his own and her infant daughter is now an adult. Lisbeth has two adolescent children and is living a happy and fulfilling life in Ohio. Their paths rarely cross but they still share the same bond. Lisbeth had no intentions of ever returning to her childhood home, but when her father nears the end of his life, she feels compelled to see him one last time before he passes. Mattie also finds herself headed back to the plantation to retrieve her sister, Sarah. Slavery has been recently abolished and Sarah is the only family she has left back in Virginia. She hopes to take her home to Ohio so that she can live out the rest of her days in peace. Lisbeth and Mattie have no idea that they’re both journeying back to the past they hoped to forget until they happen to run into one another by happenstance. In a whirlwind of events, Lisbeth finds herself in a position in which she can help Mattie and her family—and it brings them that much closer. Though slavery has been abolished, those in the south who benefited from its existence are not so quick to let it go. African Americans are still treated as slaves and only told that they have their free-will–few actually get to experience it.
I did like this novel about as much as the first story-wise, but this one got a little too outlandish even for me. I don’t want to go into too much detail as to spoil the plot but it was just wrapped up a little too neatly by the end and I just have a hard time even pretending that it could have been the reality. For that reason, I give this one 4 stars rather than 5. I feel like Laila Ibrahim did a pretty great job in the first novel with telling the true climate of slavery in a relatively PG way without taking away from the experience but Mustard Seed got just a bit too fanciful for my liking.
If you want to check out my review for Yellow Crocus, click HERE.