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Yellow Crocus: A Novel Paperback – 17 Dec 2010

4.7 out of 5 stars 1,024 customer reviews

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Paperback, 17 Dec 2010
£49.51 £9.35
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Product details

  • Paperback: 238 pages
  • Publisher: Flaming Chalice Press (17 Dec. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0984502203
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984502202
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.5 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,024 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 706,972 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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By ElaineG TOP 100 REVIEWER on 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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
At least, I am presuming this was written for the Young Adult market - although, even on that level, it fails to deliver - based on the minimal character development, and the general lack of solid historical detail.

The blurb (intense relationship between Lisbeth, the privileged child of a Southern plantation owner and Mattie, a young black woman taken from her own nursing child to be Lisbeth's servant) was interesting enough for me to buy this as a Kindle Daily Deal. Having spent only ninety-nine pence, it seems unkind to grumble, but anyone looking for an insight into antebellum plantation life would do well to give this a miss. Far better to buy Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. It's a long read, but well worth the effort (at any age). Mitchell depicts the South, warts and all, but brings a depth of knowledge that allows her to create strong, believable characters that you love and loathe, while showing that not all Southerners were villains, nor all Northerners heroes.

Yellow Crocus, on the other hand, fails to summon any real sense of life in the Deep South prior to the American Civil War. Lisbeth is presented in her own little bubble of a world that seems to consist solely of her immediate family (parents, one grandmother, and later on brother, Jack) and her nursemaid, Mattie, along with Mattie's small family in the Slave Quarters. And Lisbeth's relationship with her family is marginalised from the outset by its neglect. Her father is little more than a sketchy character gliding by on the periphery, while her mother's early sentimentality seems to evaporate with her milk.
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