Stolen from her village, sold to the highest bidder,
fifteen-year-old Amari has only one thing left of her own -- hope.
Amari's life was once perfect. Engaged to the handsomest man in her tribe, adored by her family, and living in a beautiful village, she could not have imagined everything could be taken away from her in an instant. But when slave traders invade her village and brutally murder her entire family, Amari finds herself dragged away to a slave ship headed to the Carolinas, where she is bought by a plantation owner and given to his son as a birthday present.
Survival seems all that Amari can hope for. But then an act of unimaginable cruelty provides her with an opportunity to escape, and with an indentured servant named Polly she flees to Fort Mose, Florida, in search of sanctuary at the Spanish colony. Can the illusive dream of freedom sustain Amari and Polly on their arduous journey, fraught with hardship and danger?
Draper's (Forged by Fire) historical novel takes on an epic sweep as it chronicles the story of 15-year-old Amari, kidnapped from her African village in 1738 and sold into sexual slavery in South Carolina. The horrors of the kidnapping Amari's parents and little brother are murdered before her eyes and the Atlantic crossing unwind in exhaustive detail, but the material seems familiar. The story doesn't really take off until Amari reaches her new "home," a rice plantation run by a Snidely Whiplash clone, who presents her to his evil-to-the-core son as a birthday gift. Befriended by the wise cook, a white indentured girl named Polly and the beleaguered mistress of the household, Amari eventually and improbably finds a way to escape. Draper has obviously done her homework, but the narrative wears its research heavily. Every bad thing that befell an African slave either happens to or is witnessed by Amari (e.g., Africans eaten by sharks, children used as live alligator bait, an infant shot dead out of spite). Rape is constant. These lurid elements may appeal to reluctant readers who would normally shy away from historical fiction, but they unfortunately push the story to the brink of melodrama. The author also pulls her punches with a highly implausible happy ending. But after all that Amari has gone through, readers will likely find the conclusion a huge relief. Ages 14-up.
Customer ReviewsSee All
this book is fantastically wonderful . we had to read it in school & after one chapter , you will want to keep reading .
It is a great story, made me cry, and I would recommend this book to anyone. This story is such an emotional ride, it’s awesome. I enjoyed everything about it, and would like a movie that tells the whole story exactly like it’s written.
Not feelin the book. A lot of racism in it and very hard to follow, I’m not stupid either, I’ve written and revised my fair share of book. It’s just like why would you read this if people don’t like racism, just pointless at this point. Now that you’ve read all of this maybe you’ll understand that it was a waste of time and a joke b/c I have yet to read it. Follow me on ig @boler__ and snap jayboler11