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Yellow Crocus [Kindle Edition]

Laila Ibrahim
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (653 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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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About the Author

Laila Ibrahim spent much of her career as a preschool director, and that, coupled with her experiences as a teacher and her education in developmental psychology and attachment theory, provided ample fodder for the story of Mattie and Lisbeth in Yellow Crocus. In addition to being a writer, Laila is a birth doula and Director of Children and Family Ministries at the First Unitarian Church of Oakland. She lives in a small co-housing community in Berkeley, CA, with her wife, Rinda, and two daughters. She is hard at work on her second novel.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Definite Modern Classic 23 April 2012
By Suze
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is one of the best books I have read in a very long time! Although I've been very happy with a number of my Kindle reads, this one is a class apart. If I'd been able to award it 10 stars I would have. The only thing that disappointed me was that the book ended. I literally read it at every spare moment, but was always saddened when I realised that "the end was nigh".

History is definitely not an interest of mine, so I shy away from historical fiction, but as this book had so many 5-star reviews I decided to try it; I can't believe that I could so easily have dismissed this gem as "just history"!

The two central characters Mattie, the wet-nurse, and Lisbeth, the plantation owner's daughter are totally credible, well-rounded characters. Your interest in them is stimulated immediately: you care about everything they do and say. The author writes authoritatively about the lives of those on plantations in the 1800s so you begin to understand the conventions of the time, even if their "truths" go against every one of your own natural instincts.

The reader is present at Lisbeth's birth and watches her grow up and develop. You see the many prejudices through her eyes, hear all of the justifications, but you also are privy to how Mattie and her family are affected by them. It's done very cleverly by the author, but you become so involved with the characters that you can't help but be very touched by their situations. At one point I literally could not read any further - I was in tears and could not see my kindle. I feared for its waterproof safety, so put it away till later!

I have recommended this book to friends and family and anyone else who'll listen to me. As soon as I've finished this review, I'll be looking up Amazon's page for this author to see what else I might download. This book will remain on my kindle and definitely won't be deleted. It's also a book I could easily read again in a year or so.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Superficial look at slavery 18 Dec. 2014
By Amanda Jenkinson TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
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.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic story 31 May 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
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.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Book 20 Feb. 2012
By Joy B
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book truly transports the reader back to another age. Smiles and tears came often. I could not stop reading and yet I did not want the book to come to an end. I marvelled at the courage that led slaves to take their lives in their hands and run, just hoping and trusting that they would reach the free states where they could be recognised as full members of the human race.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant! 2 Aug. 2012
By Cala
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I loved this book added it to my kindle ages ago when it was free and with a week off to catch up I was pleased to find this amongst my unread books. Beautifully written I was left wanting more but a good book should always leave you feeling that way in my opinion. This book completely involves you in the lives of Mattie and Lisbeth evoking a range of emotions. More please.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Fab book
Published 1 day ago by Posey
5.0 out of 5 stars Yellow Crocus
An absolutely beautiful story. Read the book in one sitting, I was so engrossed I couldn't put it down. XXX
Published 4 days ago by joedge
3.0 out of 5 stars Yellow crocus
This is an ideal book for the beach, the commute or to introduce a piece of important history to a teenager. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Sandy Sharp
5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite
Beautiful in every way, the truth is ugly but this book will show how some good came from the gloom. I will not forget this one.
Published 4 days ago by Lyndsey Toyn
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read
Didn't know what to expect, once I started reading found it difficult to stop. Very often late back from breaks due to having to read just one more chapter! Very good.
Published 10 days ago by Claire
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read
Truely beautiful. The story is of a love Mattie and lizbeth shared and their need to live their lives they way their hearts led them. to live
Published 10 days ago by L Riley
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
It was okay
Published 11 days ago by jennifer brown
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book in a long time
Totally gripping from start to finish, both woman show remarkable strength and love. I found it hard to put down.
Published 14 days ago by michael sarah
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting
I stumbled upon this book as an editor's choice, and not something I would normally read. This has been the most heart warming read I have read for a long time and would not... Read more
Published 15 days ago by Nicola Gill
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking
It is hard to sum this book up, it is both sweet and troubling at the same time. It was a thought provoking read, it really is unbelievable how slavery existed and was seen as... Read more
Published 15 days ago by Fiona
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