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Indigo: A romantic, historical novel about the struggle of African-Americans and the Underground Railroad Paperback – 22 Aug 2000
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About the Author
Beverly Jenkins is an award winning, African-American writer of historical romantic fiction. Her best selling novels have been widely praised by fans and critics alike for their unique and compelling stories set against the powerful backdrop of nineteenth-century African-American history.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
I was wrong. I was so, so wrong.
This book is BEAUTIFUL. Both Galen and Hester (Indigo) are beautifully fleshed out. They're both intelligent, capable, and compassionate, but they aren't too perfect to be believable. They communicate well (gasp! What a concept in romance) and support one another in a really lovely way.
What really makes this book special, though, is the incredible amount of history poured into the story. I learned so much about the abolitionist period in this book, but it was presented as an integral part of the story rather than either an afterthought or a dry history lesson. It was amazing.
Yes, the love scenes had some of the purple prose Old School romance is known for, but even that didn't detract from how wonderful this book is.
As a final thought, I think that it's fitting that this was a selection for February, which is Black History Month.
Hester nurses the Black Daniel, Galen Vachon, back to health. Initially very difficult to deal with, he relaxes as he heals and they form a tenuous bond before he returns to his work. They each try to forget the other, but when Galen returns in the spring, it is with very serious intentions towards Hester. Objecting to the differences in their stations, Hester holds out against his charm offensive for as long as she can, but ultimately surrenders. Because of the setting, their happily ever after is vulnerable and the reader knows it will be challenged as the American Civil War begins.
Almost any other historical romance written in 1998 would feel dated. Indigo does not (mostly) and I think that is owed to both Jenkins skill as a writer and the seamless way she weaves genuine historical detail into the story. Every once in a while, there is a history lesson/succinct summary of what the reader needs to know about the political and cultural climate at the time. The fraught situation creates a sense of jeopardy that no other romance has ever possessed for me. Normally, I view the “historical” part of the romance as something that creates narrative distance: It’s another world and the clothing is pretty. Indigo is a love story in which the historical context is truly essential. The characters are not real, but the bravery and boldness required in their situation calls out to all of the people who fought against the injustice of a repugnant society.