“Natasha’s writing is a fresh and modern spin on great Southern literature.” - Ashley Pullo, author of the New Amsterdam series, praise for the author
“A delight to read…Thank you, Natasha, for giving Eliza the recognition she deserves.” - Margaret F. Pickett, author of Eliza Lucas Pinckney: Colonial Plantation Manager and Mother of American Patriots, 1722–1793
A deeply-researched and powerfully-written work of historical fiction, based on the untold story of Eliza Lucas, an extraordinary sixteen-year-old girl in Colonial-era South Carolina, whose actions were before their time: the story of the indigo girl.
In 1739, bright and determined sixteen-year-old Eliza Lucas is charged with keeping her family’s struggling plantations afloat, in her father’s absence. Learning of the high value of indigo, Eliza becomes determined to learn the secret of growing the enigmatic crop, believing it to be her family’s salvation, but everyone tells Eliza growing indigo in the region is impossible. Thwarted at nearly every turn, even by her own family, Eliza finds her only allies in an aging horticulturalist, an older and married gentleman lawyer, and a slave with whom she strikes a dangerous deal: teach her the intricate thousand-year-old secret process of making indigo dye and in return—against the laws of the day—she will teach the slaves to read. So develops an incredible story of romance, intrigue, hidden friendships, threats, ambition, betrayal, and sacrifice, based on historical documents and Eliza Lucas’ own letters.
Set on South Carolina's plantations beginning in 1739, this excellent historical novel by Boyd (Eversea) is based on the true story of Eliza Lucas Pinckney (1722 1793). Sixteen-year-old Eliza Lucas is charged with running her father's three heavily-mortgaged plantations while he pursues a military career in the Caribbean. He has trained Eliza well in business, agriculture, and plantation management, and she is bright, considerate, and ambitious. Eliza sees the production of indigo dye as the family's financial salvation, but indigo is risky to grow, and dye-making is a valuable but well-kept secret so she must approach her new assignment with caution. Kindhearted Eliza is independent and forward-thinking. She defies the Negro Act of 1740 and teaches her slaves to read, seeks their advice, and banishes the lash. As a marriageable young woman she rejects all suitors and expects to be a spinster, but as the plantation booms and her public stature grows, so does her affection for a married gentleman friend. Add threats of war with Spain and the strict social and cultural codes for Southern women, and Boyd has crafted a captivating novel of Southern colonial history.
This book was excellent. I could not put it down tonight. It is just about midnight, I’ve been reading for 2 hours and had to finish it before I slept.
Educative, entertaining and based on a life well lived
Always amazing to read about the people who have made our country great. This young woman’s story is one of a life well and justly lived within the constraints of the time she lived.
I loved this book and am sad for it to be over!