Born on a plantation in Charles City, Virginia, Pheby Delores Brown has lived a relatively sheltered life. Shielded by her mother’s position as the estate’s medicine woman and cherished by the Master’s sister, she is set apart from the others on the plantation, belonging to neither world.She’d been promised freedom on her eighteenth birthday, but instead of the idyllic life she imagined with her true love, Essex Henry, Pheby is forced to leave the only home she has ever known. She unexpectedly finds herself thrust into the bowels of slavery at the infamous Devil’s Half Acre, a jail in Richmond, Virginia, where the enslaved are broken, tortured, and sold every day. There, Pheby is exposed not just to her Jailer’s cruelty but also to his contradictions. To survive, Pheby will have to outwit him, and she soon faces the ultimate sacrifice.
Read this book, right now! That’s it that’s the review.
No, but seriously. This book left me speechless and breathless. I don’t think I have ever read a book about slaves that was so fast paced and thrilling. Although a highly emotional and deep book, there were moments where I was on the edge of my seat, heart pounding, clutching my invisible pearls. There were moments so gut wrenching that I yearned to hold my son so tight.
I can tell that Mrs. Johnson took a lot of time researching. Even so her storytelling was top notch. The story is character and plot driven, although, I didn’t find myself as connected to Pheby as I maybe should have been. That doesn’t mean she wasn’t done right, it means she was done well in this case. She had to make many, many tough decisions often putting others before herself and these decisions impacted lots of people. I really don’t know what I would have done if I were in her shoes.
I just can’t say enough good things about this book! This is one that will forever stick with me and I highly recommend it! It’s a short book but heavy; I had to put it down several times to gather my bearings.
The good: EVERYTHING
The bad: NOTHING