Monday, August 20, 2018

Book Recommendation: Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim

Yellow crocuses flowers

“Focus on bearing, and beauty will follow. Your looks will not remain with you for life. But your bearing will go with you to the grave.” - Laila Ibrahim, Yellow Crocus

I love reading books of various genres. But my favorite is historical fiction. And it's because there have been many times in which books within that genre touch me so deeply. And I am happy to say that my first book recommendation in this blog is no exception. It touched me to the core. It was a pleasure to read this book.

For my fiction book recommendations, I will first talk about the book as to encourage you to read it, without any spoilers. After, I will include a conclusion with spoilers for you to come back after you read the book. Don't worry. I will warn you before you get there.

Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim is the most recent book I've read that has officially made it to My Favorite Books list. How can I even start to describe this wonderful book? The setting is in the state of Virginia, in the United States, during Antebellum times. For those not familiar, that's before slavery was abolished in the country. From the first page I was stuck, I knew I was in for a good story.

This story, is about a black female slave, Mattie, taken away from her own baby to nurse the newborn baby girl and live in the main plantation house. It was sure an easier job than being in the fields, yet she was torn for leaving her baby boy.

Despite of that, spending so much time with Elizabeth, the baby girl, and basically raising her, it was inevitable for the two of them to form a bond so deep that it was stronger than the class differences imposed by society at the time because, of course, their relationship couldn't be more than just a child and her wetnurse. But it does exceed in a beautiful way; they become more like family and from that relationship, their lives change forever. The author describes the way this bond unfolds and allows you to understand the characters so well, with their flaws and qualities.

The story describes Mattie's struggles as a slave, something not easy to comprehend but which gives you a greater sense of empathy. It also describes how Elizabeth grows into adulthood and what it meant to be a girl and woman in her social class during that time. Her future pretty much encompassed getting engaged to a proper young gentleman and being a wife and mother. Going through this whole process with her was full of emotion.

This is a book meant for mature readers, as it does capture the cruelty of inequality and treatment to a group of people. But it also captures the loving essence that the human spirit is capable of, the reach friendship, love, family and loyalty can have. And that is how life is, without hate, there could be no love.

“This is as true a story as has ever been told: the story of my love for Mattie, and, I suppose, her love for me in return.” - Laila Ibrahim, Yellow Crocus

Coming up, I will conclude my summary and recommendation. So, click here to get Yellow Crocus through Amazon today and then come back and read the rest of this page. 😉

As the book climaxed, I truly couldn't put it down, or rather, I couldn't stop listening to it as I purchased my copy through Amazon's audiobook service, Audible. I often prefer to read my books but, for this one, I preferred to listen to it because the narrator did such an amazing job!

When Elizabeth is old enough and circumstances signal Mattie it has been enough, with an infant in her arms, she plans her escape to follow her family: a husband and her son, who is now older, into a free state. I have to say that her escape had me at the edge of my seat. Man, was it nerve racking. I was so glad that after all they went through, they made it to a new life!

And Elizabeth, oh dear, Elizabeth. How I admired her bravery. When she witnesses Edward, the gentleman she has been engaged to, raping a slave girl, she tells others around her and they all seems to think that is normal and accepted behavior, both her family and dear friend. Yet, something tells her that it isn't and she knows that if she marries him, she will never be able to live in peace.

One of my favorite parts of the book is when she is laying in bed one morning after waking up from anther nightmare where she sees the terrifying look in the slave girl's eyes when she sees Edward's cruel act and decides she must break it off with him, feeling a sense of peace fill her instantly after she makes that decision. I love it so much because there are often times when everything around us is pointing to something that just doesn't seem quite right to us, and it takes a lot of courage to follow your heart, despite what others, even those close to you, think about it and despite the fact that they might judge you or even shame you. To us, it is now very clear that Elizabeth was in the right, but back then, it sadly wasn't so obvious. Yet she followed through and stuck to her decision, no matter how hard it was. She knew that not doing so, would be that much harder.

And! She ends up proposing to wonderful Mathew! The guy who loved her first and who she truly felt a connection to. What women in her time, in this current time, would do that? Not many. Applause for her...

I hope you enjoyed this recommendation but more so, I hope you read the book, indulge in it and love it as much as I did. Leave your comments below or write to me. I'd love to hear from you. 😊

Yellow Crocus has a sequel called Mustard Seed that I truly enjoyed as well.

Para comprar tu copia de Yellow Crocus traducida en español, La Flor del Azafrán Amarillo, haz clic aquí.

Photo credit: thatSandygirl Yellow Crocus via photopin (license)
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Yellow Crocus, La flor del azafrán amarillo

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