this felt like a YA book in the early pages with the young Libertie learning
about her situation, unique for that time period in US history, as a freeborn
negro. Her mother was respected as a doctor, healer, and a landowner. All that
turned into teenage angst when the mother’s expectations for a daughter clashed
with Libertie’s feelings of inadequacy and her desire to choose a different
path. It later turned into anger as she got older and more rebellious. It lasted
pretty much for the rest of the book with little change until the very end when
she was about to give birth to twins and had found aid in escaping her marriage
to a husband who couldn’t keep his promise of equality for his wife.
have a grasp of location until much later in the book when it was finally
mentioned they lived south of the East River in Brooklyn. I didn’t know of any
historical black community in that area. I guess creating the small-town feel
was more important. I found out about Weeksville before reading the end
notes. I was impressed at how the author used historical facts for the book. The
1863 Draft riot that turned into a race riot was very poignant and developed
more than I’d been exposed to in other books and movies.
I’m a bit
concerned that it may have not totally benefited the character development of
the protagonist. She came off as stubbornly whiney. More willing to run from
her problems than confront them. Not first-class, story-grade heroine behavior.
However, the end notes say that’s what the author was after, a kind of everywoman.
style was better than average with plenty of insightful passages, but I had
problems in following dialog on several occasions and had to reread a few long
complex sentences to find their intended meaning. All cases of falling out of
I liked the
inclusion of letters for plot development and appreciated that they were
readable (in a different font?).
left me wondering if it is a setup for another book that will continue