Wow. Anyone who thinks they’ve read enough about slavery needs to read this book. Difficult and heartwrenching at times, the story sucked me in and I could not put it down. I was drawn in by the characters and the narrative from beginning to end. What I love about this book–and what often isn’t the case in so many books about slavery–is that characters are so well developed that almost everyone has two sides. This is not good vs. evil. It’s good vs. sort of bad and mostly good vs. bad but excusable, and good vs. bad but not completely bad. Amber is good through and through. Miss Kathleen seems mostly good, but she’s a slave owner. Does that make her bad or a product of the culture? Denwood is despicable at times but sympathetic nonetheless and better as the story unfolds. Liz is simply compelling and unique. Patty Cannon is evil. McBride (the author) runs the gamut, but what stands out is that each character brings us into the world they’re living. We see slaves, slave owners, slave traders, slaves working the “gospel train,” free blacks helping and not helping, and black “natives” living in the bush, a part of neither world. This is a complex story with a narrative that weaves and winds much like the landscape in which it’s set. A great novel. (fiction)
Have you ever read his book “The Color of Water”? I LOVED this book, and found this book when looking for others by James McBride. This one was great also!