Friday, May 25, 2012

Book Review: Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim

Hi all,

UPDATE: Now a Top 100 Bestseller on Amazon!

The most recent book I've read is Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim, and I have to say, I was captivated by this book. It is is wonderful piece of historical fiction. If you love historical fiction, especially the pre-Civil War era, this is the book for you. This is Ms. Ibrahim's debut novel. I was lucky enough to download it for free on Kindle awhile back, but this book is well worth paying for.

Old Cover.
Book Description:

In 1837, Lisbeth Wainwright is born to the white mistress of a sprawling Virginia plantation. Seconds later, she is delivered into the arms of her black wet nurse, Mattie. For a field hand like Mattie, her transfer to the big house is supposed to be considered an honor—except that the move tears Mattie away from her beloved grandfather and her infant son, Samuel. But Mattie is a slave, with no say in the matter, and so she devotes herself to her master’s daughter, though she longs to be raising her own child. Growing up under Mattie’s tender care, little Lisbeth adopts the woman’s deep-seated faith in God, her love of music and black-eyed peas, and the tradition of hunting for yellow crocuses in the early days of spring.

New Cover.
As the years pass, Lisbeth is drawn slowly back into her white parents’ world and begins to learn the ins and outs of life for a high-born young lady. Still she retains her connection to Mattie, befriending Samuel and drifting comfortably between the two worlds. She accepts her parents’ assertion that their slaves depend upon them for guidance and protection, yet that notion becomes more and more difficult to believe as she gains awareness of the inequality of life in the big house versus the slave quarters. When, on the threshold of her society wedding to debonair Edward Cunningham, Lisbeth bears witness to a shockingly brutal act, the final vestiges of her naiveté crumble around her. Just twenty-one years old, she is forced to choose between what is socially acceptable and what is right, a decision that will change her life forever.

This compelling historical novel chronicles young Lisbeth Wainwright’s coming-of-age during one of the most difficult chapters of American history. Lisbeth’s powerful bond with Mattie makes her loss of innocence in the face of society’s ugly secrets all the more heartbreaking, and yet it is the courage she learns from her stand in mother that enables Lisbeth to blaze a new path for herself. Yellow Crocus offers moving proof of how the greatest social change often blooms forth from small personal acts of love.

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My 5 Star Review

Elizabeth (Lisbeth) Wainwright is born into privilege on a southern plantation in 1837 and is immediately given into the arms of a black slave wet nurse named Mattie. Mattie has been forced to leave her own small baby boy behind to take care of Lisbeth, and while she is resentful at first, she grows to love little Lisbeth as much as her own son. As Lisbeth grows, her relationship continues with Mattie and her eyes begin to open up to the unfairness of the wrongful institution of slavery. As an adult about to embark on the perfect marriage with a man of means, Lisbeth is witness to the harsh reality of slavery and instead takes a path that changes her life forever. 

I was completely enthralled by Yellow Crocus from the very first sentence and the story did not lose my interest to the very last page. This is a story about the lives of two very different women in an era when women, both black and white, were basically considered the property of men. You see the subtle influence that Mattie has on little Lisbeth in teaching her that all people are the equal with the same feelings, emotions and loyalties to friends and family. It is truly a beautifully written story like none I've read in a long time. Bravo to Ms. Ibrahim for writing such a fascinating, captivating work of fiction. Beware: you will not want to put this book down!




  1. I finished it last night and enjoyed it.

    1. Happy you enjoyed it, Teena. I really loved this book. :)

  2. I just completed for my book clubs February meeting. It is a magnificent piece of historical fiction. I can hardly wait to discuss. The meeting hostess has scheduled a tour of a local plantation to bring this book to life

    1. I loved this book. So glad to hear that you did too.


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