From the bestselling author of Yellow Crocus and Mustard Seed comes the empowering novel of two generations of American women connected by the past and fighting for a brighter future.
It’s 1894. Jordan Wallace and Sadie Wagner appear to have little in common.
Jordan, a middle-aged black teacher, lives in segregated Chicago. Two thousand miles away, Sadie, the white wife of an ambitious German businessman, lives in more tolerant Oakland, California. But years ago, their families intertwined on a plantation in Virginia. There, Jordan’s and Sadie’s mothers developed a bond stronger than blood, despite the fact that one was enslaved and the other was the privileged daughter of the plantation’s owner.
With Jordan’s mother on her deathbed, Sadie leaves her disapproving husband to make the arduous train journey with her mother to Chicago. But the reunion between two families is soon fraught with personal and political challenges.
As the harsh realities of racial divides and the injustices of the Gilded Age conspire to hold them back, the women find they need each other more than ever. Their courage, their loyalty, and the ties that bind their families will be tested.
Amid the tumult of a quickly changing nation, their destiny depends on what they’re willing to risk for liberation.
Well, having read the second of this trilogy only a few days ago I just couldn’t wait to get to the final one!
Jordan lives with her mother and daughter in Chicago where segregation still exists. Sadie lives with her German husband and her mother in Oakland, California in a more tolerant society. The strong bond between their families has never waned; both their mothers have a strong and deep affection for each other despite being born and raised on the same plantation in Virginia, one as the daughter of the big house and the other into slavery. With Jordan’s mama Mattie almost reaching the end of her life, Sadie accompanies her mother Lisbeth to Chicago to offer what comfort they can to the Freedman family.
We’ve now moved on from books one and two to find the story now also incorporated the grandchildren of the original women in Yellow Crocus. Both that novel and the sequel, Mustard Seed, are novels about strong women and I absolutely loved both of them, so it was no surprise to find this one wormed it’s way under my skin very quickly. Individually, all three books are incredibly moving and put together they are truly awesome. These are skilfully crafted stories behind which lies extensive research to make the details as accurate as possible whilst writing amazing and gripping stories of family dramas in times gone by. In this book, the family stories continue and advance with connections to race relations, suffrage and so much more. I have been shocked by a lot of stuff revealed in this third novel, things which made my skin crawl especially when I realised that they were based on fact. I thank my lucky stars to be a woman in the 21st century. I cannot think of any books which have affected me like these three; these are not novels you ever forget and I really cannot recommend all of them highly enough. If anyone ever wondered about the Black Lives Matter protests, then this will explain the history. Without a doubt, this is a five star read and I shall be eagerly watching to see what Laila Ibrahim produces next.
I downloaded this as one of my Kindle First Reads choices, part of my Amazon Prime subscription; this is – as always – my honest, original and unbiased review.
Tags: African American historical fiction
- Format: ebook, paperback, audiobook, audio cd
- Size: 297 pages
- Publisher: Lake Union
- Publication Date: 1 June 2020
- Links: Goodreads
- Barnes & Noble
Laila Ibrahim spent much of her career as a preschool director, a birth doula, and a religious educator. That work, coupled with her education in developmental psychology and attachment theory, provided ample fodder for the stories in Mustard Seed and Yellow Crocus.
She’s a devout Unitarian Universalist, determined to do her part to add a little more love and justice to our beautiful and painful world. She lives with her wonderful wife, Rinda, in a small cohousing community in Berkeley, California with two other families. Her amazing young adult children, Kalin and Maya, are kind enough to text, FaceTime, and call her on a regular basis.
Laila is blessed to be working full-time as a novelist. When she isn’t writing, she likes to walk with friends, do jigsaw puzzles, play games, work in the garden, travel, cook, and eat all kinds of delicious food.