Ever since I was a young girl and I read about the Underground Railroad, I have been interested in the history of slavery. It has dictated a lot of my reading and studying. It pains my soul, hurts to read and makes breathing difficult. But it happened. And it is something that we owe the people who had to bear the pain to learn about.
I was grateful that a co-worker lent me this book, one that I had known nothing about and that had not been on my radar. It is an excellent novel, full of immense history about slavery and women’s rights. It is complex, deep and difficult.
The novel goes back and forth between Sarah, a rich Southern belle who has never wanted to life she has been given adn Hetty, a slave her own age who was given to her for her eleven birthday. Sarah never wanted a slave, but she has no right to not have her. In her own way she rebels against her family by teaching Hetty to read. The novel spans back and forth between the lives of these two women, both struggling against their positions in life.
Sarah and her sister Angelina, are real women, women who are among the first women abolitionists, as well as the first women to speak out in public forums and struggle for women’s rights.
Sue Monk Kidd has researched and imagined a wonderful, rich, heartbreaking novel for them to live in and it is well worth the read.