There were moments of beautifully lyrical writing. The book, inspired by the life of one of the first Black female doctors in the United States, was well researched. The book addresses several themes – complex mother-daughter relationships, feminism, and searching for what freedom means for a young female dark-skinned woman in the aftermath of the Civil War. It is also a look at life in Haiti, where women are still subservient to men.
An eye-opener from the book, for me, was how much easier life was for light-skinned Blacks who could pass for White than for the dark-skinned. It was also interesting – shocking – reading of some of the experiments done to treat people. The sea horse one. early in the book. still has me shaking my head. A powerful portion of the book that applies to present days is how even when a person may be freed there is lasting emotional damage that can result in serious mental health issues. We see that today in some of our refugees.
This is a good book for exploring another piece of American history that many of us were unaware of.
Thank you to Algonquin Books for generously supplying me with a review copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.