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Yellow Crocus: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Laila Ibrahim
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (901 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $9.95
Kindle Price: $3.99
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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.

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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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Ibrahim balances the story well, crafting immensely complex and multi-faceted characters and putting them in an atmosphere as tense as the air before a thunderstorm.

Yellow Crocus is an engaging, thought-provoking story. It's a must-read for anyone who enjoys Antebellum historical fiction or is looking for a compelling story to add to their book club reading list. In fact, practically anyone who enjoys period reading will find this book as wonderful as discovering freshly bloomed crocuses poking through the snow. "

Katerie Prio
ForeWord Clarin

From the Author

Writing Yellow Crocus was a labor of love.  Years ago, in 1998, I was with a group of people talking about Tiger Woods.  Someone mentioned that he identifies as much as an Asian person as an African-American person. I thought to myself, "Of course he does, his mother is Asian. You form your core identity in relationship to your primary caregivers. It's a basic part of the attachment process."
Then the image of Lisbeth, a white baby, breastfeeding in the loving arms of Mattie, an enslaved wetnurse came to me in a flash. I thought about what it would be like for Lisbeth to dearly love Mattie and then be taught by society that she wasn't a full person. I wondered how it would feel for Mattie to be forced to abandon Samuel, her own child, in the slave Quarters. Then I imagined what the experience would be like for Miss Anne, the birth mother, to have her own child twist away from her to get into Mattie's arms. These characters started to haunt me. Various scenes popped into my head. Though I had never written anything, I was being called to tell this story. Finally, for my fortieth birthday, I began the personal marathon of writing my first novel. I hope you will come to love these characters as much as I have.





 
   

Product Details

  • File Size: 616 KB
  • Print Length: 240 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0984502203
  • Publisher: Flaming Chalice Press (January 14, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004J8HSCC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,469 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
114 of 115 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Read! April 6, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was most surprised by how much beauty and pleasure I could find in a book which in large part is about slavery. I could not put it down. With two small toddlers at home, it is rare for me to finish a book in 6 months, let alone in the few days it took me to read Yellow Crocus. The details of the deep and powerful relationship between a white girl and the black woman who nursed, raised her and saved her life- enabled me (a white lady) to stomach more of the realities of slavery and glimpse for moments about how folks managed those times. Of course, as a mother, it was unbelievably painful to read about what Mattie (the main character) has to endure with her own children. But this a decidedly a good pain that brings me in touch with the strength and brilliance of women....and the ability of some to continue to do the hard work of mothering and loving under the most difficult of circumstances. Thanks to Abrahim for letting me shed many a meaningful tear.
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90 of 93 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Want More Ma-ie... February 10, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book was for me just a fantastic read from start to finish! It made me:

1. Horrified at times- being reminded how slaves were so badly and brutally treated back then, seeing Mattie's anger displayed in an early scene (no spoiler) that left me holding my breath and being made to remember how women were treated during this period of time too.

2. Angry at others- as when Mattie was torn from her family, including her 3 month old baby and was supposed to be pacified by being able to visit them for a few hours on a Sunday, witnessing through the young heroine's eyes the brutal rape of a young slave girl (not graphically depicted) and reading the general attitudes of people on the black/white person/non-person issues common to this time.

3. I laughed in spots and I cried in others while reading it which means for me it was a pretty darn successful story. I can't ask for much more then that from any author.

Some have said that they found the book only suited for teens because parts seemed to have been written for a YA audience. My response to that is that the plot of this book revolved primarily around 2 things, us getting to watch Lisbeth grow up and her changing attitudes as the book progressed and life through the eyes of Mattie (Ma-ie). I believe these scenes that felt more YA were to give us a flavor of what it was like to grow up during this time and don't know of any other way it could have been done if some of the young girl's activities and thoughts (life on a daily basis) weren't represented. The other perspective life as seen through Mattie's eyes was more adult because she was an adult and had to grow up pretty early on because of the circumstances of her life.

I wish there was a sequel to this one something I almost never say!
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57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartbreak, courage, and love December 19, 2010
Format:Paperback
This is one of those books that's hard to put down, as the characters grab hold of you. The scenes are so vivid and linger on long past the end of the book. I realized while I was reading how rare it is that a novel deals directly with the intimate details of birth and mothering. It is an insightful look at the heartbreak, courage, silences, and love that exist amidst the cruelty of slavery and the bizarre rationalizations of those who profited from plantation life.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great debut novel from Laila Ibrahim! October 30, 2011
By Kim B.
Format:Paperback
I really enjoyed this novel, from start to finish. It takes place in Virginia in the 1800s, while slavery was still the norm in the South. This is Laila Ibrahim's first novel, and I thought it was a great first effort...I found it difficult to put down, and at just over 200 pages, it was a quick read. I look forward to reading other books from this author.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read. February 2, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My husband recently brought me a kindle and I had looked very hard for books pertaining to African American culture that were free. I must admit that I was thinking since the author was not African American there would be a sort of romanticism or sugar-coated theme with the relationship between the slaves and their owner but, this story proved to shed light on the truths of slavery.

As someone who majored in history with a concentration on African American history, I must say this book was awesome. This book was very unbiased and was very factual in relating information on the society and communities in the south during slavery. The book "told it like it is" when it comes to the relationship between mammies and the children they were forced to suckle and raise. Many people do not realize how the slave woman had to put her owner's child ahead of her own. I also appreciated the happy but realistic ending. This book among many other stories of early American life is a must read.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read that quote in a review about a book on slavery over 30 years ago and, to me, truer words were never spoken.
This book, Yellow Crocus, written about that same dispicable subject was written with such grace I was shocked to find it was the author's first book. It tells the story from the viewpoint of the slave/nanny and that of her charge. It was well written, it was easy to love the 2 female leads and I do look forward to reading more of this author.
My only objection: This book was lovely, but the way slaves were treated was not. (Spoiler) While it is was enjoyable to see a happy ending, slavery was not a fairy tale, and the life of a slave was very rarely tied up in so neat and pretty a package. Freedom, family intact, earning a good living was indeed a fairy tale. However, I hold on to the fact some fairy tales come true.
Again I am looking forward to reading more from this author, would enjoying reading a sequel telling us what life brings to both women. Bravo!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars pre civil war history
what a wonderful story about slavery and the good and bad of it...I love to read about things that very powsibly could have happened in those days... Read more
Published 1 day ago by Annette Warburton
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read
Beautifully written with very engrossing characters. My only wish was that the last quarter of the book had been as well developed as the preceding chapters. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Chef SciFi
5.0 out of 5 stars left me wanting more
Great story! I was so surprised when it ended. I wanted more of the same .Will definitely be looking for more of her writing,
Published 4 days ago by Elaine Bozeman
5.0 out of 5 stars [ TOTALLY LOVE THE STORY
WHAT A WONDERFUL STORY
LOVE THE AUTHORS WRITING
SHOULD BE MADE INTO A MOVIE
AS GOOD AS THE HELP IF NOT BETTER
Published 4 days ago by Shannon Lurette
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
Got this book for free for my kindle. Read it in almost two days it was so good. I love books that have women characters that stand up for what they believe in. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Sydney Wallce
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartfelt and moving
A well written story of strength and willingness not to accept status quo. I loved reading about the special bond the two heroines shared. The story was very moving.
Published 5 days ago by Shelley
5.0 out of 5 stars Why didn't someone tell me about this book sooner?
I am not fond of books dealing with slavery due to the graphic nature but this one had just enough balance. The truth is the truth and this was awesome. Read more
Published 5 days ago by KRR
5.0 out of 5 stars A Winner
This was a compelling novel that kept my interest throughout. The author's style is fresh and brims with empathy for her character's
in this historical time. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Jrob
5.0 out of 5 stars Love in the South In Spite of Evil
This is an entirely enjoyable book, while at the same time, one that portrays the evils of slavery in a most believable way. Read more
Published 9 days ago by Sherree Gorman
4.0 out of 5 stars enjoyed
good read,said "Oh My" at one part and found it hard to put down. one of the best I have read this year.
Published 10 days ago by Jackie Trayner
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More About the Author

My experiences in multiracial, developmental psychology provided ample fodder for the story of Mattie and Lisbeth. I was the founder and director of Woolsey Children's School where I had first hand experience loving children that were not my own. There are scenes in the book that were largely influenced interactions I had with children from Woolsey. As a birth doula I have the privilege to witness the intensity and joy of childbirth. You can see that my birth experiences are reflected in the novel as well. I recently started working as the Director of Children and Family Ministries at the First Unitarian Church in Oakland. I live in a small co-housing community in Berkeley, California, with my wonderful wife, Rinda, our amazing children, Kalin and Maya, and our crazy dogs, Bella and Lucie. Yellow Crocus is my first novel.

I was surprised when the writing bug bit me. The idea for the story came to me in 1998, I was with a group of people talking about Tiger Woods. Someone mentioned that he identifies as much as an Asian person as an African-American person. I thought to myself, "Of course he does, his mother is Asian. You form your core identity in relationship to your primary caregivers. It's a basic part of the attachment process."

Then the image of Lisbeth, a white baby, breastfeeding in the loving arms of Mattie, an enslaved wetnurse came to me in a flash. I thought about what it would be like for Lisbeth to dearly love Mattie and then be taught by society that she wasn't a full person. I wondered how it would feel for Mattie to be forced to abandon Samuel, her own child, in the slave Quarters. Then I imagined what the experience would be like for Miss Anne, the birth mother, to have her own child twist away from her to get into Mattie's arms. These characters started to haunt me. Various scenes popped into my head. Though I had never written anything, I was being called to tell this story. For my fortieth birthday, I began the personal marathon of writing my first novel. I hope you will come to love these characters as much as I have.

Some new characters are starting to haunt me. So I dare say there will be more books in my future.



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