Born on a plantation in Charles City, Virginia, Pheby Brown was promised her freedom on her eighteenth birthday. But when her birthday finally comes around, instead of the idyllic life she was hoping for with her true love, she finds herself thrust into the bowels of slavery at the infamous Devil’s Half-Acre, a jail where slaves are broken, tortured, and sold every day. Forced to become the mistress of the brutal man who owns the jail, Pheby faces the ultimate sacrifice to protect her heart in this powerful, thrilling story of one slave’s fight for freedom.
This year I have decided that I want to continue my journey reading historical fiction, but I wanted to venture outside of the usual WW2 era.
This book was definitely the step in the right direction. Taking place before the Civil War during the most intense part of slavery in the south, Johnson throws you into the life of Pheby. Immediately you realize that she is not a typical slave. She knows how to read and she doesn’t have to perform the duties of either a field or house slave. She and her mother are favored by their master, Jacob.
After the death of a fellow slave, Pheby is summoned to work in the Big House and then begins her troubles. Working for the mistress of the property proves to be hard and stressful. Things continue to go downhill for her. The promise of freedom is the only thing that keeps her going. However, she has no idea what is in store for her.
After things take a turn for the worse, Pheby finds herself on the way to the auction block. Because of her light complexion she is saved from the auction block only to be sent into a life that is just as bad.
This book was intriguing and infuriating at the same time. There were times that I wanted to reach in the book and shake the life out of Pheby but at the same time I felt sorry for her. The things she risks and goes thru in order to protect her children. I also felt that she put herself in certain situations that she didn’t have to be in.
Johnson weaves the story intricately, keeping your attention and drawing in your emotions. While the book doesn’t give you the ending that you hope for after all Pheby has gone thru, it is an ending that is infuriatingly realistic.
3 Golden Girls
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