Yellow Crocus (Yellow Crocus #1) by Laila Ibrahim starts with Mattie, a field slave, being forced to leave her infant son to be the wet nurse for newly born Lisbeth Wainwright. Lisbeth is born into wealth on the Tidewater Plantation in Virginia in 1834. The friendship and enduring love between Mattie and Lisbeth were very sweet. The novel focuses on Lisbeth’s personal life instead of what was going on around her. There were lengthy conversations about which fabric and pattern were best to make a ball gown and the social etiquette requirements of a young lady. I found these to be boring.
I have very mixed feelings about this book. The writing was at times endearing and poignant, but at other times it was simplistic and prosaic.
Currently, America is in the midst of protests that were started after the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020. Mr. Floyd, a black man, died when a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on Mr. Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes. Because of this environment, I wanted to read a book that might give me a better insight into the beginnings of racial inequality. Without understanding the past, it is difficult to grapple with the present. Unfortunately, Yellow Crocus does not have the depth of other novels, such as The Invention of Wings, Roots: The Saga of an American Family, or The Good Lord Bird to make the reader deeply feel the emotions of that time.
There was some discussion of how the owners believed their slaves were less than human. It did not even occur to many of them that slaves had emotions or even felt real pain. There is one scene where Lisbeth sees a white man raping a slave. Every person Lisbeth told, dismissed it as no big deal. The story could have been if more time had been spent on the issue of slavery.
3-stars. If you are on Goodreads, I would appreciate it if you would “like” my review there.