Published by Blackstone Publishing on October 03, 2017
Genres: Fiction, Historical
Review Copy Provided By: Publisher
AMZ US B&N IndieBound
An incredible story of dangerous and hidden friendships, ambition, betrayal, and sacrifice.
The year is 1739. Eliza Lucas is sixteen years old when her father leaves her in charge of their family's three plantations in rural South Carolina and then proceeds to bleed the estates dry in pursuit of his military ambitions. Tensions with the British, and with the Spanish in Florida, just a short way down the coast, are rising, and slaves are starting to become restless. Her mother wants nothing more than for their South Carolina endeavor to fail so they can go back to England. Soon her family is in danger of losing everything.
Upon hearing how much the French pay for indigo dye, Eliza believes it's the key to their salvation. But everyone tells her it's impossible, and no one will share the secret to making it. Thwarted at nearly every turn, even by her own family, Eliza finds that her only allies are an aging horticulturalist, an older and married gentleman lawyer, and a slave with whom she strikes a dangerous deal: teach her the intricate thousand-year-old secret process of making indigo dye and in return -- against the laws of the day -- she will teach the slaves to read.
So begins an incredible story of love, dangerous and hidden friendships, ambition, betrayal, and sacrifice.
Based on historical documents, including Eliza's letters, this is a historical fiction account of how a teenage girl produced indigo dye, which became one of the largest exports out of South Carolina, an export that laid the foundation for the incredible wealth of several Southern families who still live on today. Although largely overlooked by historians, the accomplishments of Eliza Lucas influenced the course of US history. When she passed away in 1793, President George Washington served as a pallbearer at her funeral.
This book is set between 1739 and 1744, with romance, intrigue, forbidden friendships, and political and financial threats weaving together to form the story of a remarkable young woman whose actions were before their time: the story of the indigo girl.
I was provided a review copy; this did not influence my opinion of the book.
OMG YOU GUYSSSSS!!! Have you ever read a book out of your normal comfort zone? Like one that isn’t remotely what you would normally read but you ended up LOVING IT all the same???
❝It was so unlike me, but yet, it was me. Something was unfurling within me from behind the fear of societal expectations. Something true and deep. A part of my soul I’d always known was there but never acknowledged. I knew I’d never completely stop playing the role assigned to me in this life, but I would never ever let it compromise me.❞
‘The Indigo Girl’ by Author Natasha Boyd was PHENOMENAL! There was so much passion within the pages of this book that my heart ached! ACHED!
This is not a typical romance, so don’t go into this book expecting that. But ‘The Indigo Girl’ was filled with passion; passion for life, for love and humanity. It was a story filled with guarded intimacy, and forbidden love, a story that reminds you what it is to be human! And this piece of fiction is BASED ON A TRUE STORY!!! It was incredibly inspiring.
Based on true life, ‘The Indigo Girl’ tells the story of Eliza Pickney. At 16, her father leaves her in charge of his plantations in the Carolinas. Her two brothers (the rightful heirs at that time) were away at school in England. So when her father had to return to Antigua, it was just Eliza, her mother, and younger sister. The family needed a Hail Mary to survive while her father was gone. They could not sustain all of the plantations they owned and her father’s commission. It was up to 16-year-old Eliza to find a way to financially sustain her family.
One day while touring one of her families plantations, Eliza sees clothing on the women that reminds her of the Indigo her beloved Ben used to make. Having grown to love horticulture, she wondered if she could grow Indigo, there, in South Carolina. And if she could, would this be what saved her family?
Not having seen her friend in many years, Eliza petitions her father to send Ben to teach her how to grow Indigo. Her father denies her request. Both for Eliza’s reputation and the safety of her friend. Ben is the first friend Eliza made as a young girl and grew to be her best friend. He was also a slave. So Eliza presses on, she studies and asks questions. She befriends people and slaves who have experience growing seeds similar to Indigo as well as those who have knowledge of Indigo.
Eliza was put in a precarious position. On the one hand, her father left her in charge of plantations and slaves. Her father wanted her to save the family of financial ruin or at the very least, keep the family afloat until her brother came of age and could take over in her father’s place.
On the other, her mother was dead set on marrying her off. Women weren’t celebrated for their knowledge, this was a time when women didn’t have power or a voice. Her mother didn’t understand Eliza’s exuberance, her independence, nor her strong sense of self. Eliza wanted to work. She was strong willed and had opinions. As a 16-year-old female, men were more interested in patting her on the head or dismissing her entirely than they were with accepting that she might be intelligent enough to make good decisions. Her value and worth were only what she could bring to a marriage and how she could provide for her husband.
❝This was perhaps my only chance to show my father I was destined for more than being some man’s wife. Perhaps one day. But not yet. What was wrong with being a spinster anyway?❞
I so admire Eliza Pickney. She had a strong sense of right and wrong. Her fortitude was admirable. She was strong before her time. Had she been born today, she would have been celebrated for her ideas and her intelligence.
This story evoked a myriad of emotions in me. I cried from sadness and I cried from anger. But also a sense of appreciation for how far our gender has come!
I first read this author when she penned ‘Eversea’, and the follow-up book, ‘Forever, Jack’. I liked those well enough. But ‘The Indigo Girl’ was a superb! I am so happy that Natasha Boyd felt compelled to tell the story of such an amazing woman. While parts may be fiction, it is clear that Ms. Boyd did her research.
Phenomenal! Exquisite! Passionate! I didn’t want it to end!