I originally posted this in August of 2013. It was a wonderful story and definitely worth a second look.
Moments after her birth to the mistress of a sprawling Virginia plantation, Lisbeth Wainwright is entrusted to Mattie, an enslaved wet nurse. From then on, Mattie serves as Lisbeth’s stand-in mother, nursing her, singing her to sleep, and soothing her in the night. And yet mothering Lisbeth tears Mattie away from her own baby, Samuel, who lives in the slave quarters. Growing up under Mattie’s tender care, Lisbeth adopts her traditions of prayer, singing, eating black-eyed peas, and hunting for yellow crocuses in the spring. As the years pass, Lisbeth is drawn back into the white world, earning a growing awareness of the inequality of her and Mattie’s stations. She struggles to reconcile her love for Mattie with her parents’ expectations for her future, intent on keeping the best of both worlds-until a terrible betrayal forces her to choose once and for all. Yellow Crocus is a compelling novel of love, loss, and redemption set during one of the most sinister chapters of American history.
This was a truly remarkable story. I wish I could go over every detail, but I don’t want to give anything away. As I watched Lisbeth grow up going from a naive girl to a woman who truly stood up for her beliefs. I felt proud of her. It takes a horrific scene for her to realize that this is NOT the life she wants. She doesn’t condone her parent’s beliefs. The sacrifice she made turned out to not be a sacrifice for her. It was her path in life.
The story of Mattie rips your heart out, but at the same time shows the love she had in her heart. The risk Mattie takes makes your heart stop. She was a strong woman who took control of her life and ended up a free woman.
Original background image by PetraKratochvil