This is one of my favorite reviews. It was written by my niece for a school report when she was a Freshman in high school.
Main Course: Honest Reaction
By Rachel Ibrahim
The book, Yellow Crocus, by Laila Ibrahim is one of my all time favorite books. I don’t normally like historical fiction books; I get too bored with them, and don’t find them as interesting as science fiction or fantasy books. I was surprised by how engaging the read was; I could not put the book down because it brings you into the world of the two main characters, Lizbeth and Mattie. I can really feel, and almost experience the feelings and relationship that they have with each other. I would highly recommend this book because it’s a well written, captivating, but easy read that you can let loose in. It’s easy to understand, but is education while still appealing. This 1830’s slavery story is fun, loving, and heartbreaking to any reader.
My favorite thing about this book is how much everything in the book relates to the author, my aunt, Laila. Our families are close, and with them living in Berkley, I get to see her often. This book was a major accomplishment for her and I could just see how happy it made her when it was finally published. Truthfully, I would not have read this book if she didn’t write it, and I do not rate this book based on my relationship with her, or just to make her happy, but I truly did love it, and am glad that I read it. Every time I turn the page, even after reading this book for the 5th time, I can imagine her writing. Everything in the book reminds me of how Laila is, especially the main character Mattie. They are both inspiring, strong women who fight for what is right, even if society disapproves, and society will never be able to change the mind of my aunt. It’s amazing to see people like that, and by writing this book I think she shares her courage and I could not love her more for the person she is.
In 1837, Lisbeth Wainwright is born to the white mistress of a sprawling Virginia plantation. Seconds later, she is delivered into the arms of her black wet nurse, Mattie. For a field hand like Mattie, her transfer to the big house is supposed to be considered an honor—except that the move tears Mattie away from her beloved grandfather and her infant son, Samuel. But Mattie is a slave, with no say in the matter, and so she devotes herself to her master’s daughter, though she longs to be raising her own child. Growing up under Mattie’s tender care, little Lisbeth adopts the woman’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.
As the years pass, Lisbeth is drawn slowly back into her white parents’ world and begins to learn the ins and outs of life for a high-born young lady. Still she retains her connection to Mattie, befriending Samuel and drifting comfortably between the two worlds. She accepts her parents’ assertion that their slaves depend upon them for guidance and protection, yet that notion becomes more and more difficult to believe as she gains awareness of the inequality of life in the big house versus the slave quarters. When, on the threshold of her society wedding to debonair Edward Cunningham, Lisbeth bears witness to a shockingly brutal act, the final vestiges of her naiveté crumble around her. Just twenty-one years old, she is forced to choose between what is socially acceptable and what is right, a decision that will change her life forever.
This compelling historical novel chronicles young Lisbeth Wainwright’s coming-of-age during one of the most difficult chapters of American history. Lisbeth’s powerful bond with Mattie makes her loss of innocence in the face of society’s ugly secrets all the more heartbreaking, and yet it is the courage she learns from her stand in mother that enables Lisbeth to blaze a new path for herself. Yellow Crocus offers moving proof of how the greatest social change often blooms forth from small personal acts of love.
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Genre - Historical Fiction
Rating – PG-13
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