Compulsively readable and full of heart and soul, this is a tremendous work of historical fiction. Set in Charleston N.C. during the 19th century, it is a story with two alternating narratives. Hetty is a slave girl who longs to be free. Sarah is a Southern white girl who longs to be a lawyer. When she is presented with the gift of a slave at her eleventh birthday, Sarah tries to give Hetty her freedom. But Sarah is living in a world where women have no rights. Both women are imprisoned and covet freedom from their situations. They create a unique bond and enter into a journey of courage and survival, giving voice to the power of the human spirit and hope in the midst of adversity. I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone.
Many of the people in this novel are historical. Kidd has fleshed them out but kept the authenticity as much as possible. Not only has she done her research well, the story is written so beautifully – full of unforgettable characters who leap off the pages of history and make you feel their joys and sorrows in your very bones. As with The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd provides an entertaining and affecting read that will stay with me for a very long time. Excellent for book clubs because it is so easy to read and compelling, yet full of themes and masterful literary writing that make for great discussion. This book doesn’t need Oprah’s endorsement. It will stand on its own merit for many years to come.