In an interesting twist on the pre-Civil War story of slavery, Grissom presents us with an Irish child orphaned on the ocean crossing and delivered into the life of an indentured servant. Because Lavinia is only 6 years old as the tale begins, she is handed over to the “house slaves” to raise by the master of the house. Belle, who ultimately becomes Lavinia’s “mother/sister,” is the master’s illegitimate daughter and receives many privileges because of this relationship. Promised her freedom by the master, Belle unhappily comes under the eye of the master’s son who is unduly influenced by the evil overseer.
Grissom has written an engrossing tale of life of “house slave, “field slave” and bullied and frightened wife. The characters are clearly written, the scenes are believable, the secrets are many. The plot will grab your interest from the first page and keep you reading to the final page. Grissom has a clear vision of plantation life, family relationships, and the fear engendered by powerlessness. The tempo of the story gains momentum as the characters reveal their lies, secrets, loves, hopes and fears as Lavinia grows from child to adult.
5 of 5 stars