Following a disaster on her emigration from Europe, seven-year-old Lavinia finds herself in an interesting situation as an indentured servant on a plantation in Virginia, living and learning under the tutelage of her master’s illegitimate slave daughter. She lives and is raised with the slaves that work in the kitchen and the big house and loves them dearly, yet struggles to understand why they are treated differently than she.  As she grows, the differences become more clearly pronounced, especially after she travels with the family and studies alongside their relatives.When she returns, her world is more different, and difficult to manage, than ever before.

I had mixed feelings about this book. I found the subject matter and all of the different aspects in Lavinia’s situation to be interesting, yet the book had a very odd pace to it where half of the time it was moving too slowly and then other times seemed to fly by.Grissom was skillfully able to conjure up my emotions and I often felt pained for the characters and how entirely stuck and unfortunate they were. It was so painful that some of the situations that the characters found themselves in were avoidable! I would still recommend it to lovers of historical fiction and history/sociology in general for the questions and points of view that the story raised, but for the casual reader it may be something to pass on.

Have you read this book? What did you think?

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