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Yellow Crocus

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Moments after Lisbeth is born, she’s taken from her mother and handed over to an enslaved wet nurse, Mattie, a young mother separated from her own infant son in order to care for her tiny charge. Thus begins an intense relationship that will shape both of their lives for decades to come. Though Lisbeth leads a life of privilege, she finds nothing but loneliness in the comp Moments after Lisbeth is born, she’s taken from her mother and handed over to an enslaved wet nurse, Mattie, a young mother separated from her own infant son in order to care for her tiny charge. Thus begins an intense relationship that will shape both of their lives for decades to come. Though Lisbeth leads a life of privilege, she finds nothing but loneliness in the company of her overwhelmed mother and her distant, slave-owning father. As she grows older, Mattie becomes more like family to Lisbeth than her own kin and the girl’s visits to the slaves’ quarters—and their lively and loving community—bring them closer together than ever. But can two women in such disparate circumstances form a bond like theirs without consequence? This deeply moving tale of unlikely love traces the journey of these very different women as each searches for freedom and dignity. Revised edition: This edition of Yellow Crocus includes editorial revisions.


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Moments after Lisbeth is born, she’s taken from her mother and handed over to an enslaved wet nurse, Mattie, a young mother separated from her own infant son in order to care for her tiny charge. Thus begins an intense relationship that will shape both of their lives for decades to come. Though Lisbeth leads a life of privilege, she finds nothing but loneliness in the comp Moments after Lisbeth is born, she’s taken from her mother and handed over to an enslaved wet nurse, Mattie, a young mother separated from her own infant son in order to care for her tiny charge. Thus begins an intense relationship that will shape both of their lives for decades to come. Though Lisbeth leads a life of privilege, she finds nothing but loneliness in the company of her overwhelmed mother and her distant, slave-owning father. As she grows older, Mattie becomes more like family to Lisbeth than her own kin and the girl’s visits to the slaves’ quarters—and their lively and loving community—bring them closer together than ever. But can two women in such disparate circumstances form a bond like theirs without consequence? This deeply moving tale of unlikely love traces the journey of these very different women as each searches for freedom and dignity. Revised edition: This edition of Yellow Crocus includes editorial revisions.

30 review for Yellow Crocus

  1. 5 out of 5

    Catriona (LittleBookOwl)

    During the last 30 minutes of listening to this book, I was so full of emotion.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Angela M

    When I read The Invention of Wings last year , it made me think about little I really knew about slavery in spite of having read books and seen movies depicting the despicable injustices and inhumane treatment that black slaves in this country were forced to live with . Once again, this time in Yellow Crocus, the author provides a story that showed me yet another heartache that a female slave on a southern plantation in 1837 was made to bear and my education continues. I can't begin to explain ho When I read The Invention of Wings last year , it made me think about little I really knew about slavery in spite of having read books and seen movies depicting the despicable injustices and inhumane treatment that black slaves in this country were forced to live with . Once again, this time in Yellow Crocus, the author provides a story that showed me yet another heartache that a female slave on a southern plantation in 1837 was made to bear and my education continues. I can't begin to explain how heartbreaking this story was for probably more than half of this book. I had a knot in my stomach and felt like I couldn't breathe at times. It was gut wrenching and not surprisingly so but that didn’t make it any easier. Mattie's heart was broken as she was separated from her mother at eight, when her mother was sold. Now, Mattie at 19 is forced to leave her 3 month old son and move to her master's house to be wet nurse and care giver for his newborn baby girl Elizabeth. She can see her son Samuel once a week and only allowed to watch him through a window . In spite of this mother's heartache, Mattie not only gives Lisbeth her milk but she gives her genuine love and becomes for Lisbeth a guiding force that shapes the strong woman that Lisbeth becomes . This is a short book and I'm not willing to tell more of the plot because you really should find out for yourself what a fine piece of writing this is .In spite of the atrocities, this small book is also full of the hope that the yellow crocus in early spring represents. Highly recommended. Thanks to Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    This was a wonderfully written book! This book follows two characters, Mattie and Lisbeth, and is set in the mid-1800's in Virginia. Mattie is a slave woman for Lisbeth's family and is called in to be a wet nurse to young Elizabeth (Lisbeth). Forced to leave her own son just a few months old, Mattie is moved into the house and raises the young girl, almost as her own, for several years... The first half of the book we gets the first several years from Mattie, but as the years wear on, it starts t This was a wonderfully written book! This book follows two characters, Mattie and Lisbeth, and is set in the mid-1800's in Virginia. Mattie is a slave woman for Lisbeth's family and is called in to be a wet nurse to young Elizabeth (Lisbeth). Forced to leave her own son just a few months old, Mattie is moved into the house and raises the young girl, almost as her own, for several years... The first half of the book we gets the first several years from Mattie, but as the years wear on, it starts to shift to Lisbeth's. We get to see her turmoil as Mattie longs to be with her son and family but has also grown close to her young charge. All seems as ideal as it can be for a slave family for the first several yours but as Mattie's son grows older, problems arise. We switch to Lisbeth as she begins o be taught about society, and her place in it. And the place of slaves, men, etc. When Mattie is no longer by her side she is forced to make her own decisions for good or bad. But what is that in the 1850's? How do you cope being divided by love from family? I greatly appreciated the honesty the author brought forth. So many are afraid to speak or right the truth of how things were. While this books surely tones it down, it does note paint it pretty either. And the further into the book, the darker some of the subjects get. I hate when authors over sugar-coat the past. All men were NOT seen as equal then. and women were not to men. This portrays things relatively accurate. This book hits some deep subjects. For those who get angry at the idea of slavery or past prejudice, do not read this. This refers to slaves as they were called in those days. This is not for the young readers, there is a rape scene,and whipping in this. For the mature reader this is a wonderful book for both history and the bonds of love, family, loyalty and friendship. I received this book from Flaming Chalice Press in exchange for a fair and honest review. So special thanks to them! *No money or other exchanges involved*

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kiessa

    I want to wrap my arms and legs around this book and hang onto it forever. With a depth and subtlety I'm sure I didn't even fully grasp during this first read, Yellow Crocus captured my attention and my emotions on every single page. I am hungry to pick it up and start all over again. Beautiful, warm, hopeful, and inspiring, this story unfolded so seamlessly I felt like I was living it. To finish the last page left me renewed and deeply satisfied. This is the kind of book that makes me glad to b I want to wrap my arms and legs around this book and hang onto it forever. With a depth and subtlety I'm sure I didn't even fully grasp during this first read, Yellow Crocus captured my attention and my emotions on every single page. I am hungry to pick it up and start all over again. Beautiful, warm, hopeful, and inspiring, this story unfolded so seamlessly I felt like I was living it. To finish the last page left me renewed and deeply satisfied. This is the kind of book that makes me glad to be a reader and studier of the richness of life as it is told in stories. This book is a must-read for any list.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Suze

    Yellow Crocus received such overwhelmingly good reviews on Goodreads, and I like historical fiction, especially tales set in early America. For example, I loved The Kitchen House, which also dealt with pre-Civil War slavery. So I was really looking forward to reading this book. My expansive local library doesn't have it, so I put in an inter-library loan request and received the book from a library in Oklahoma. All good so far. Then I started reading. And, boy, was I disappointed. What could hav Yellow Crocus received such overwhelmingly good reviews on Goodreads, and I like historical fiction, especially tales set in early America. For example, I loved The Kitchen House, which also dealt with pre-Civil War slavery. So I was really looking forward to reading this book. My expansive local library doesn't have it, so I put in an inter-library loan request and received the book from a library in Oklahoma. All good so far. Then I started reading. And, boy, was I disappointed. What could have been a powerful story was overly tidy and simplified. Sometimes the book skipped details that could have been important -- such as Elizabeth's mother's feelings for her daughter and how these feelings helped shape the girl, or how Elizabeth's father's beliefs influenced his treatment of slaves -- and other times it bogged down in details that added nothing. Apart from Mattie and Elizabeth, the characters were not adequately developed, and their motivations were unclear. The dialogue was inconsistent and sometimes pointless: "...Next year I would like to have crocus blooming in our yard." "That would be lovely," Matthew replied, smiling at his wife. "Though the bulbs are quite expensive..." "It is a luxury we can afford," he assured her. "Thank you, Matthew," Lisbeth smiled back. "Can you believe we have lived here for nearly a year?" "It has passed quickly." And, while the author certainly doesn't paint slavery in a favorable light, the "fairy tale" ending wasn't believable. A really talented editor might have been able to salvage this book, refining the marginal writing and helping Yellow Crocus to become all it had the potential to be.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    It's so interesting to me sometimes how my brain works. I've seen this book on Goodreads for a while now, and yet I never gave it any thought at all, never showed even the slightest spark of interest in looking to see what it was about because of the cover: To me, that just about screams "Christian Romance". Ick. But then I saw the Kindle edition cover when browsing the Kindle Unlimited options, and THAT one spoke to me and said that this book might be one that could interest me. So I picked it It's so interesting to me sometimes how my brain works. I've seen this book on Goodreads for a while now, and yet I never gave it any thought at all, never showed even the slightest spark of interest in looking to see what it was about because of the cover: To me, that just about screams "Christian Romance". Ick. But then I saw the Kindle edition cover when browsing the Kindle Unlimited options, and THAT one spoke to me and said that this book might be one that could interest me. So I picked it up and read it. Well, to be fair, I half listened to it (because KU also includes audiobooks!) and half read it. I finished it in just a few hours, during a drive to my NJ Bookclub and back, and then at home after, and though it was a quick read... I'm just not sure what I really thought about it. In a lot of ways, this was very similar to The Help. This was an impression that was very much helped along by the audio, which was read by Bahni Turpin who read both books. I happened to really enjoy The Help... but for some reason, this book just felt pretty unrealistic to me in a few key ways. And, you know, if I was fair, I would apply some of these same complaints to The Help... but life isn't fair, and neither am I. See here's the thing, I know that The Help had flaws, but I enjoyed the story and the characters and the atmosphere and the feel of the story so much that I was able to just lose myself in the book and ignore them. And for me, that doesn't happen as often as I would like it to. I have this habit of not being able to turn off my inner critic sometimes. OK lots of the time. I'm the girl who will call out the illogical physics during a ghost fight on top of a moving vehicle that is in a book about trying to kill God during near death experiences. Just saying. ANYWAY - so, when I can just enjoy a book and I DON'T get caught up in all the flaws and stuff that take me out of the moment, that makes me happy. This book tried too hard to make me happy, and it ruined everything. OK, maybe not everything. I'm still giving it 3 stars, but... it's a generous three. Maybe 2 1/2 rounded up. OK probably 2. You see, as much as I like being happy from the "I'm loving this book and I'm lost in the story and nothing else matters" feels... I'm not a happy ending fan. Sure, I might secretly hope for one... but if it's too contrived in order to have one, then I will resent it. And that's the main problem that I had with this book. It was just too contrived. There will be spoilers. You've been warned. We have Mattie, our slave new mother who was pulled away from her 3 month old son in order to nurse newborn Elizabeth. Excuse me, Miss Elizabeth. Mattie is heartbroken that she has to be away from her baby, but she comes to love Lisbeth, and the two form a bond over many years. Mattie suffers being away from her family and home, but Lisbeth, who of course is young and doesn't know any better than what her parents teach her, thinks that Mattie should be happy because her life is easier than it was as a field-hand. She's just ignorant, which is understandable. Anyway... Years later, Mattie's son is sold to a nearby family, and he runs away with his father (who was on another nearby plantation). Mattie is "questioned" about it, by which I mean that they whip her in the hopes that she would spill their whereabouts. She doesn't, but she shortly finds out that she is pregnant... and at that point she decides that she will run too when she can. She decides to run a few months after her daughter is born. So up until this point, the point of Mattie's run, I was digging the story. After this point, it started to just go south for me. Semi-pun intended. You see, it's SUPPOSED to seem as though it was a really harrowing and dangerous escape, but it wasn't. It was too easy and not well enough explained why. We're to understand that she was helped along by the Underground Railroad... But I wanted details as to how it was planned and such. It really just seemed like a series of convenient escapes. At one point she's spotted, and, with no explanation at all, suddenly had made herself sick with poisonous plants that she'd swallowed at some point in preparation for being stopped which she didn't know would happen? I dunno. She got out of that by puking all over the place though, so mission accomplished. It was all kind of like that. We're supposed to interpret this as being a kind of luck-slash-resourceful-slash-determination thing, but it just seemed too contrived for me. It was too quick, too easy. So, let's hop back over to Lisbeth, because for a while Mattie goes out of our story once she makes her destination. Lisbeth is now being groomed to be a Proper Southern Wife, blah blah blah. She goes along with everything because making a good match with a wealthy dude is much more important than happiness. Nevermind that the one decent guy she knows is pretty much mocked for being "almost an abolitionist!" Well, mere days before her wedding, she spots future hubby raping a young slave girl. She freaks out (because, mind you, she's "innocent" and had no idea such a thing occurred), and future hubby was like "Don't sweat it, once we're hitched I won't stick it to anyone but you!" Mother and Daddy basically tell her to get over it, but she can't. She's haunted by the frightened eyes of the girl being raped. So, knowing that her life in the area is over if she breaks her engagement, she proposes to Mr. Almost An Abolitionist and asks him to take her with him when he moves (conveniently) away. They do this, she breaks off her previous engagement, everyone flips their shit, and then they move... ...To the exact town where Mattie ended up. Neither one of them knew that, of course. We're just supposed to believe that it was purely a coincidence that in ALL of the possible Northern locations they each could have chosen, they each chose the same one. Like fate or something. And then of course when Lisbeth's pregnancy starts getting complicated, they bring in a midwife to assist, and you'll NEVER guess who it is. Never in a million bajillion trillion years. It was MATTIE! Look, I get that people want happy endings to slavery stories. They want the slaves to be freed, and for white people to have learned the error of their racist, shitty ways, and for there to be a happy-ever-after. But that's not really how it was. It wasn't a romanticized forced-but-fateful bond between a slave and her charge. It was just fucking slavery. It's not sweet, no matter how much sugar you pile onto the page. There were bits that I liked, and as I said, I really enjoyed the first half. But the second half just felt so contrived to accomplish that happy-ever-after, that "growth" from Lisbeth, where she realized that slaves REALLY are people, too. I didn't feel like these characters were REAL... they were just vehicles for the plot and the lesson. And that spoiled the whole thing for me.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Manju

    What could have been a beautiful story but turned into just a show of sugary affection because the author didn’t capture the relationship between master and the servant and the effect of slavery on it. Yellow Crocus explores the relationship of Elizabeth, the white master, and Mattie, the black servant. When Elizabeth was born, she was handed to Mattie. It was Mattie’s job to see the needs of child, feeding and bathing etc. As the child grew up, the bond between these two also got stronger. Eliz What could have been a beautiful story but turned into just a show of sugary affection because the author didn’t capture the relationship between master and the servant and the effect of slavery on it. Yellow Crocus explores the relationship of Elizabeth, the white master, and Mattie, the black servant. When Elizabeth was born, she was handed to Mattie. It was Mattie’s job to see the needs of child, feeding and bathing etc. As the child grew up, the bond between these two also got stronger. Elizabeth’s parents sell Mattie’s son to a neighboring plantation. The child could not survive there and escapes, never to be found again. Mattie was questioned and beaten, and soon was relieved from the duties as Elizabeth’s nanny. She too soon fled to Ohio to be with her son and her husband. And years later, fate brought both these women together. This story is so simple. With such high ratings I expected so much from this considering the subject matter of the story. While reading the book I never felt the “sufferings” of poor slaves. Mattie was quite liked in the white household and well taken care of. She can’t blame her masters for mistreating her or beating her. Had she been working in fields, perhaps it would have been a different story. Escaping was her own decision. As for Elizabeth, she was deeply attached to Mattie but she soon forgot about her once she started going to classes which groomed her in how to be a perfect lady and dance practices. Soon the only motive of her life was to be married off to a rich heir and be an heiress. She seemed so flimsy. One minute she wanted to be a heiress, the next she just ran away from everything. It never got well with me. Both characters had no emotion that touched me. They felt flat and one dimensional to me. Moreover, the story didn’t do justice to the slavery in 1800s. for most part, it seemed like they were living like one big happy family. And perhaps that’s what author wanted to show in this story but it didn’t go well for me. When I think of slavery, I think of brutality, gore, selfishness, cruelty, helplessness, dejection, anger, but I didn’t get any of that here. It just didn’t work for me.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dem

    Yellow Crocus a novel by Laila Ibrahim. I am so glad I read this Novel as the saying goes “ Good goods come in small parcels”. Yellow Crocus -is a flower that blooms in the most adverse conditions. What a great name for this Novel, makes you appreciate the thought the author put into this book. This is a short novel and as I have been having a bad streak with books lately this was exactly the sort of book I had been searching for. I found the novel Yellow Crocus a very enjoyable book, no tricks o Yellow Crocus a novel by Laila Ibrahim. I am so glad I read this Novel as the saying goes “ Good goods come in small parcels”. Yellow Crocus -is a flower that blooms in the most adverse conditions. What a great name for this Novel, makes you appreciate the thought the author put into this book. This is a short novel and as I have been having a bad streak with books lately this was exactly the sort of book I had been searching for. I found the novel Yellow Crocus a very enjoyable book, no tricks or fireworks just a good story with a few historical facts to keep me interested. I liked the simplicity of this novel, I believe it is the author's first book and I really look forward to future books. I sensed the author is passionate about her subject and she gets to the point and no waffling. This book follows the relationship between an enslaved black women and a little white girl she is forced to care for. Mattie is taken from her baby son and must leave him in the care of others, and forced to become a wet nurse to Elizabeth who is the Master's first born daughter at the big house. Yellow Crocus is story about love, relationships and slavery and how in history mankind are guilty of so much pain and suffering of, and it’s through books like this one we are reminded of these times and we do need reminding how cruel life has been in the past. I really grew very quickly to love the characters in this novel they are well developed and the story is well constructed. The ending of the Novel I did feel was a little contrived but did not take away from my overall enjoyment of the book. If you liked the The Kitchen House you will enjoy this Book.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ruth Turner

    This is the wonderful, heart-wrenching, but also heart-warming story of the relationship between a young white girl and her slave nanny. Beautifully written and simply told. I finished it in one sitting.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Gina *loves sunshine*

    This was a very well written book - definitely grabs you and weaves a haunting story of life on the plantation. I highly recommend this if you enjoyed other popular stories about this era, and books that focus on relationships between slaves and their owners! I'll give it an honest 3.5 stars. I kind of feel bad....as if that doesn't do it justice. It is just a reflection of my feelings and emotions about the book. It was VERY engaging, I just did not enjoy the content and connections with the ch This was a very well written book - definitely grabs you and weaves a haunting story of life on the plantation. I highly recommend this if you enjoyed other popular stories about this era, and books that focus on relationships between slaves and their owners! I'll give it an honest 3.5 stars. I kind of feel bad....as if that doesn't do it justice. It is just a reflection of my feelings and emotions about the book. It was VERY engaging, I just did not enjoy the content and connections with the characters. It starts out building the relationship between Elizabeth, a newborn and Mattie - her wet nurse. For me it was a bit awkward since the first 20% is basically Mattie's care for Elizabeth through breast feeding. I honestly just got tired of the 50 ways to describe latch on. And then in her next few years of being a toddler, again I couldn't get on board with the behavior from her Grandmother and Mother. I realize this is the reality of the era - but it grated on my nerves!!! I won't really reveal too much more - I just found myself not looking forward to what was happening!! I definitely feel like the minority in this though!!!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Carole

    Wow! Another favorite to add to my top all time best! I've had this book in my list of samples for nearly a year. I remembered I read the first chapter about a young, slave who was required to leave her own baby to nurse the newborn girl of the Mistress in the big house. The relationship between Mattie & Lisbeth is so full of love, I couldn't help but adore them. I read this in just 2 days, which is fast for me. I didn't want it to end, I absolutely loved it so!! If you liked The Help The Ki Wow! Another favorite to add to my top all time best! I've had this book in my list of samples for nearly a year. I remembered I read the first chapter about a young, slave who was required to leave her own baby to nurse the newborn girl of the Mistress in the big house. The relationship between Mattie & Lisbeth is so full of love, I couldn't help but adore them. I read this in just 2 days, which is fast for me. I didn't want it to end, I absolutely loved it so!! If you liked The Help The Kitchen House, Redfield Farm, or Mudbound, you will certainly want to read this spectacular book. It is hard to believe this is the author's debut novel. She writes with such tenderness, compassion & insight. I hope she continues to share her gift with her fans! I wish I could give more than 5 stars!!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette

    This book had the bones of an excellent story, but the way the personalities were expressed, the language of the people, the mood of the setting- all together it just didn't mesh for me. Nor for slavery times under these conditions. It seems a kind of fairy tale, almost like a Hansel and Gretel level aspect of nasty downside and not that era's reality of nasty. Those women, but especially Mattie, just ran flat. It isn't that she couldn't have loved Elizabeth or vice-versa, it was just the though This book had the bones of an excellent story, but the way the personalities were expressed, the language of the people, the mood of the setting- all together it just didn't mesh for me. Nor for slavery times under these conditions. It seems a kind of fairy tale, almost like a Hansel and Gretel level aspect of nasty downside and not that era's reality of nasty. Those women, but especially Mattie, just ran flat. It isn't that she couldn't have loved Elizabeth or vice-versa, it was just the thought patterns and understandings between them weren't of the period in their types of acknowledgments. It was far more the tone of 1930-1960's, rather than that of 1830's-1860's. But that was not the only issue in the writing for me. It was far, far too simplistic to the context of everyday life for all of the characters. The birth scenes were written as for a children's story. And the other characters beyond the two main protagonists and their husbands, characters like Mrs. Ann or the doctor, or Elizabeth's grandmother- were basically cut out stereotypes. The intrinsic conflict Mattie would have had was far deeper and more unsurmountable than this book shows. IMHO, that's my opinion. I know others enjoyed it far more and the characters seemed to work as real for them. Not for me, because fear of reprisals weren't part of parcel of this story, nor of Mattie's self-identity. And I'm almost sure that would have been.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Pink

    I completely used this book. I picked it solely because it fitted my A-Z challenge for a book starting with the letter Y. Then I noticed it was available on kindle unlimited, so I signed up for a month's free trial, read the book and cancelled my subscription. Mind you, I feel this book does a fair amount of using itself. It certainly falls into that territory of playing with your heartstrings, making you feel good about humanity and giving you a happy ever after. Was it realistic? No. Did it ha I completely used this book. I picked it solely because it fitted my A-Z challenge for a book starting with the letter Y. Then I noticed it was available on kindle unlimited, so I signed up for a month's free trial, read the book and cancelled my subscription. Mind you, I feel this book does a fair amount of using itself. It certainly falls into that territory of playing with your heartstrings, making you feel good about humanity and giving you a happy ever after. Was it realistic? No. Did it have a touch of white saviour about it? Yes. Did it delve into the deeply troubled history of slavery? Not really. Any book that is about slavery and leaves you with a feel good ending, has somewhere missed the point for me. However...did I enjoy it? Yep. I read it in just a few hours, quickly turning the pages and really wanting to find out what was going to happen to the two main characters. Just after half way through the story seemed to take a turn. We stopped reading about Mattie (the black slave character) and were left solely to continue with Elizabeth's story (the young white daughter of a slave owner). I was still invested in the story, but it became kind of obvious, as it succumbed to historical fiction slave story tropes. I still liked the book, it was a good, quick read, but if I give the story further analysis I start to find it problematic. Only you know if this is the sort of thing that bothers you or not. A generous 3 stars.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    This is a book that I had never heard of, but really deserves more recognition. Set on the Tidewater plantation in Virginia, before the Civil War, it follows Mattie who is a slave and wet nurse and Elizabeth, the newborn daughter of the plantation. Wonderfully written, with many poignant moments, this novel is a brilliant read of time and place. I am so glad I was not born in that time, a time when women were told want to think, talk about, existed only to please a man and make an advantageous m This is a book that I had never heard of, but really deserves more recognition. Set on the Tidewater plantation in Virginia, before the Civil War, it follows Mattie who is a slave and wet nurse and Elizabeth, the newborn daughter of the plantation. Wonderfully written, with many poignant moments, this novel is a brilliant read of time and place. I am so glad I was not born in that time, a time when women were told want to think, talk about, existed only to please a man and make an advantageous marriage. They were taught not to question anything. So glad Elizabeth didn't follow thus path.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ezinwanyi

    3.5 stars. Why is the crocus purple when the book is called "Yellow" Crocus? The book was good, but everything was all nice and neat. This period was anything but sweet. I did like it though.

  16. 5 out of 5

    MomIsReading

    All the publishers in NYC who took a pass on this novel should be kicking themselves. I can’t even find a website for the publisher that did publish this book which makes me think it was self-pub. I discovered this book as part of a free download promo on Amazon and the synopsis grabbed me. I enjoy reading books based in the south during this time period. There are paperback copies available on Amazon, but the easiest way to read is via kindle download. Right now it is $3.99 or free for Amazon P All the publishers in NYC who took a pass on this novel should be kicking themselves. I can’t even find a website for the publisher that did publish this book which makes me think it was self-pub. I discovered this book as part of a free download promo on Amazon and the synopsis grabbed me. I enjoy reading books based in the south during this time period. There are paperback copies available on Amazon, but the easiest way to read is via kindle download. Right now it is $3.99 or free for Amazon Prime members. This book is beautifully written...just lovely! These characters, Mattie and Lisbeth, are deeply layered and the author does an incredible job bringing them to life and making them real…making you feel each side of their longing and pain. I ached for Mattie and the sacrifices she was forced to make by leaving her own child to basically be raised by another while she raised Lisbeth. Mattie had no choices in her life. As a mother myself that ripped my heart out. This book illustrates the power of attachment and how we form our identity not by those who gave birth to us, but by those we are raised by. Our identity is a direct result of those who were our caregivers. Take for example adoption and those raised primarily by nannies. Who does the child seek for comfort and love? It is not the distant or unknown mother, it is the “mother” that is with them day in and day out raising them. As an adopted child myself I’ve always said that biology does not make a parent. I loved this book and highly recommend it to those who are interested in this period of history. It’s a shame this never made it mainstream as a trade paperback.

  17. 4 out of 5

    LemonLinda

    This is a touching and telling story of a young mistress and her wet nurse/nanny who was much more of a mother figure than her true mother. It focuses on the vast divide separating these two in the midst of the love and years they shared. It is a story of the slave quarters and the big house, the proper behavior required between slaves and owners and the expectations for those who lived on both sides of the divide as well as just what was likely to happen when those expectations were not met in This is a touching and telling story of a young mistress and her wet nurse/nanny who was much more of a mother figure than her true mother. It focuses on the vast divide separating these two in the midst of the love and years they shared. It is a story of the slave quarters and the big house, the proper behavior required between slaves and owners and the expectations for those who lived on both sides of the divide as well as just what was likely to happen when those expectations were not met in the antebellum South.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    What a wonderful, heartwarming story set in pre-Civil War in the south. I loved the characters. They were well drawn with great detail and so was the setting. The author captured this with vivid and warm descriptions. This story was a little glossy considering the time frame it covers. There were many horrors that existed back then, but I appreciated that this wasn't a 'shock and awe' campaign. Sometimes I'm just not in the mood for that. This story was centered on the characters and not so much What a wonderful, heartwarming story set in pre-Civil War in the south. I loved the characters. They were well drawn with great detail and so was the setting. The author captured this with vivid and warm descriptions. This story was a little glossy considering the time frame it covers. There were many horrors that existed back then, but I appreciated that this wasn't a 'shock and awe' campaign. Sometimes I'm just not in the mood for that. This story was centered on the characters and not so much on the grit and horror of the day. They had their own journey (even if it appeared too easy) and built their lives with decisions they could live with.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Elaine

    A wonderful, very emotional story about the strong lifelong bond that forms between Lisbeth, the white daughter of a southern state plantation owner and Mattie her wet nurse, from the moment of the first feed to adulthood. The book is extremely well written, the words just flow off the page and carry you along - a very easy story to read. The lead characters are both very likeable women and the bond between them is beautifully portrayed. You can certainly feel the love they have for each other y A wonderful, very emotional story about the strong lifelong bond that forms between Lisbeth, the white daughter of a southern state plantation owner and Mattie her wet nurse, from the moment of the first feed to adulthood. The book is extremely well written, the words just flow off the page and carry you along - a very easy story to read. The lead characters are both very likeable women and the bond between them is beautifully portrayed. You can certainly feel the love they have for each other yet at the same time the book really manages to puts across the message that at heart this is a book about slavery as you see the difference in their lifestyles. You never forget that Mattie is a slave and that outside the "big house" life is very different. The author has obviously done her research well, the sections of the book focussed on the slaves quarters and the background information were very well thought out and really painted a good picture of what life was like for slaves in those times. The book can be very moving, and I did feel a tad weepy at times. You really do feel for Mattie at some key moments in the story and share in her frustration that there is nothing she can do to change things that happen as she is totally powerless, being someone elses property and not a free woman. Lisbeth was a joy to read about, she grows up into a strong charactered beautiful woman, who most certainly knows the difference between right and wrong. Her life in fact is charmed until it comes to a point where she realises she has to make a life changing decision and accept the consequences of her choice, come what may. It was very gripping quick reading with a well executed plotline; once you start reading you just want to carry on and my only disappointment was realising that I was 90% through the book and so close to finishing it. I really wanted the story to just go on and on because I was enjoying it so much.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    The description of this books sounds so captivating. Unfortunately, I had problems with it from the beginning. The dialect wasn’t quite right and even when present it didn’t feel authentic. The story didn’t feel like it was written of that time, which is partially attributable to verbiage that is from today. I had come to this conclusion even before one character used the words “laugh out loud” to describe her amusement. Major spoilers follow! There is a particularly fascinating series of events The description of this books sounds so captivating. Unfortunately, I had problems with it from the beginning. The dialect wasn’t quite right and even when present it didn’t feel authentic. The story didn’t feel like it was written of that time, which is partially attributable to verbiage that is from today. I had come to this conclusion even before one character used the words “laugh out loud” to describe her amusement. Major spoilers follow! There is a particularly fascinating series of events in which Mattie (a slave) takes her child and runs away from the plantation. After Mattie reunites with her husband and son, the author writes, “She had done it. They got away. And now they were together.” This happened often, a tendency to state the obvious, and in a mundane way. In the second half of the book, Lisabeth (the daughter of Mattie's owners) and Mattie’s stories diverge but only Lisabeth’s story is told. The synopsis is misleading in this regard. Nearly the entire second half of the book is about Lisabeth and her road to becoming an abolitionist. There were some parts of the book that I enjoyed. Unlike everything I've read where it's impossible to empathize with slave owners, Lisabeth's internal conflict was critical to the story and I felt for the child. I do believe that the premise for the book was good. But with so many things working against the story, it was a challenge for me to like it.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Trudy

    6 STARS!!!!!! Yes, I mean 6 for the book and the audio narration. I just finish re-reading this book. (The first time I read it was in 2011 and I rated it 5 stars then.) This is the story of a black slave woman, unceremoniously snatched from her own infant,to reside in the plantation house in the capacity of wet nurse to the mistress's newborn. This move precipitated numerous unforeseen emotions and relationships involving the wet nurse and the white child, this child and her biological mother, 6 STARS!!!!!! Yes, I mean 6 for the book and the audio narration. I just finish re-reading this book. (The first time I read it was in 2011 and I rated it 5 stars then.) This is the story of a black slave woman, unceremoniously snatched from her own infant,to reside in the plantation house in the capacity of wet nurse to the mistress's newborn. This move precipitated numerous unforeseen emotions and relationships involving the wet nurse and the white child, this child and her biological mother, the black child with his mother, and the white's child view of her world as she became an adult. The audio narration is by Bahni Turpin. She was just awarded "Female Narrator of the Year" in the audible awards. Her presentation was outstanding. Yes, I certainly will read it again and again!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    Don't pass this one up! I LOVED this book....EVERY word of it. This is another one of those books that I would give more than 5 stars too if I could. I liked it even more than The Help, which is a fair comparison to some extent. This book was set in the 1800's and was about a little girl, Elizabeth (or Lisbeth) and her wet nurse, Mattie, who became very attached to each other over the years. Their bond was like no other and then one day Mattie fled in hopes to be free. Over the years Lisbeth long Don't pass this one up! I LOVED this book....EVERY word of it. This is another one of those books that I would give more than 5 stars too if I could. I liked it even more than The Help, which is a fair comparison to some extent. This book was set in the 1800's and was about a little girl, Elizabeth (or Lisbeth) and her wet nurse, Mattie, who became very attached to each other over the years. Their bond was like no other and then one day Mattie fled in hopes to be free. Over the years Lisbeth longed to know if Mattie was ok, to know if she made it to Ohio safely but 10 yrs would pass without a word. I don't want to give too much away in my review but I didn't want this book to end. I loved the characters and I wanted more. In a word, Excellent!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tammie

    I was not expecting to like Yellow Crocus as much as I did. I loved Mattie and Lisbeth. I thought the book did a good job of portraying the time period, the emotions of the characters, and the truths about slavery without going into graphic detail of the horrors. There were a few places where I wish the story had elaborated before moving on, but the emotions the book brings out made this a near 5 star read for me.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    This book was strange. The first 20% of it was breastfeeding scenes. Not an exaggeration. Finding out the author is a doula was not particularly surprising. The book also suffers from White Savior Syndrome. The narrative is solid, but lacks depth. Overall, a half-decent quick read for fans of historical fiction.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kristie

    I absolutely loved this book. I'm so glad that I took the time to read it. I loved that the characters were all flawed enough to seem real and you really didn't know if things would turn out all right at any given moment. I actually worried about the characters as I was reading. I will definitely read more by this author. Thank you to Netgalley for providing me a copy to review.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    3.5 stars. I really enjoyed this book, the story of Mattie, a field slave and how she became wet nurse and mammy to the first child of plantation owners. What follows is a tender exploration of their relationship and regard for each other; how knowing and loving Mattie shaped Lizbeths character and her life to come. Set in the time of the Underground movement, when abolitionists in the North helped slaves escape to freedom, the story does deal with some of the horrors of slavery. The ending feel 3.5 stars. I really enjoyed this book, the story of Mattie, a field slave and how she became wet nurse and mammy to the first child of plantation owners. What follows is a tender exploration of their relationship and regard for each other; how knowing and loving Mattie shaped Lizbeths character and her life to come. Set in the time of the Underground movement, when abolitionists in the North helped slaves escape to freedom, the story does deal with some of the horrors of slavery. The ending feels right. A good read. Recommended.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

    This story about the slave-owning society in the ante-bellum American South makes for a pleasant enough read, as it’s well-written and tells a gentle tale of love and loyalty. But what it doesn’t do is represent the true horror of slavery and simply glosses over the worst aspects of it. It opens with the slave woman Mattie being taken away from her baby son to care for the newly born daughter of her white masters. A close relationship develops between slave and child and the bond forged between This story about the slave-owning society in the ante-bellum American South makes for a pleasant enough read, as it’s well-written and tells a gentle tale of love and loyalty. But what it doesn’t do is represent the true horror of slavery and simply glosses over the worst aspects of it. It opens with the slave woman Mattie being taken away from her baby son to care for the newly born daughter of her white masters. A close relationship develops between slave and child and the bond forged between them is strong and long-lasting in spite of the barriers and conventions of the time and place. It’s all rather predictable and superficial and doesn’t tackle the real issues. Certainly there’s no sense of the brutality of the period and in spite of the harrowing subject matter – families being separated, desperate attempts to escape on the Underground Railroad, whippings and constant toil - everything seems to go along happily and peacefully in a rather idealised community. So although I rattled along quite happily for most of the book, it failed to truly represent the evils of slavery and thus didn’t really engage me.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Irene

    Una novela repleta de sentimentos, contada de una forma mágica. El amor por las personas sean de la condición que sean se transforma en un canto a la libertad que me ha puesto la carne de gallina por la emoción. Además de la historia que te enseña. Mattie y Lisbeth son dos personajes increíbles. Muy bueno. 4.5

  29. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    This story of Hattie, a wet nurse and Lisbeth, the child she nursed is historical fiction but yet as I read it I knew that it was true. Yellow Crocus is not just another slave story. It is a wonderfully written coming of age story. A great read!!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Daphne Walker

    I just finished Yellow Crocus. While reading this book, I discussed the subject matter with my mother! She was extremely offended! "It's just like that damn movie The Help!" Black women as wet nurses, and nannies! Mammies that's all they are!" She went on to talk about how much she hated 'mammies' or 'wet nurses'! Like in The Help, a black woman has to sacrifice her life with her family to 'take care of' or basically raise the white child of a white family. This is true! This story however, is m I just finished Yellow Crocus. While reading this book, I discussed the subject matter with my mother! She was extremely offended! "It's just like that damn movie The Help!" Black women as wet nurses, and nannies! Mammies that's all they are!" She went on to talk about how much she hated 'mammies' or 'wet nurses'! Like in The Help, a black woman has to sacrifice her life with her family to 'take care of' or basically raise the white child of a white family. This is true! This story however, is more about the bond that is not really discussed or often portrayed in movies and books. It is the bond that the white child feels for the black 'wet nurse'! Especially during slavery this was the only mother that many of these children knew! These women were responsible for raising/rearing (unfortunately) future slave owners, politicians (who fought against slavery), and future black leaders in the road to freedom. While the these women were referred to as mammies, or wet nurses, these women also are important to the history of this country. I actually enjoyed this book more than I thought I would.

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