Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Review: Indigo by Beverly Jenkins

As a child Hester Wyatt escaped slavery, but now the dark skinned beauty is a dedicated member of Michigan's Underground railroad, offering other runaways a chance at the freedom she has learned to love. When one of her fellow conductors brings her an injured man to hide, Hester doesn't hesitate…even after she is told about the price on his head.

The man in question is the great conductor known as the "Black Daniel" a vital member of the North's Underground railroad network. But Hester finds him so rude and arrogant, she begins to question her vow to hide him.

When the injured and beaten Galen Vachon, aka, the Black Daniel awakens in Hester's cellar, he is unprepared for the feisty young conductor providing his care. As a member of one of the wealthiest free Black families in New Orleans, Galen has turned his back on the lavish living he is accustomed to in order to provide freedom to those enslaved in the South.

However, as he heals he cannot turn his back on Hester Wyatt. Her innocence fills him like a breath of fresh air and he is determined to make this gorgeous and intelligent woman his own…

Yet…there are traitors to be discovered, slave catchers to be evaded and Hester's heart to be won before she and Galen can find the freedom that only true love can bring.

My Review
Why would a free born African-American give up his freedom to become a slave? The answer is both simple and complicated: love. The beginning of the story saddened me incredibly - knowing there was a time that a person would have had to make such a sacrifice in the name of love. But this story isn't about that man. It is about his daughter, Hester Wyatt, who escaped slavery with the help of her aunt.

Given her parents' story, she isn't interested in love. As a member of Michigan's Underground railroad, she's dedicated to helping runaway slaves gain freedom and newly freed slaves to start their new lives. This is how she meets Galen Vachon, a member of the Underground railroad whom she had to nurse back to health.

I enjoyed this story a lot. From the bumpy beginnings when Galen is brash and rude to when he begins to soften. Galen was born free and comes from money. It shows in his general attitude and expectations, so I was prepared to not love-love-looooove him. Plus, he did something I felt was questionable. I guess it was an okay thing for a man to do in the 1950s(?). That said, Galen's love for Hester was absolutely genuine and he was unapologetic about it, which I loved about him especially when his backstory is revealed later in the story. His unwavering love and desire, in both words and action, was heart-melting. Hester had little choice in the matter than to fall in love with him.

This is my first African-American historical romance, and my first Beverly Jenkins story. Going in, I wasn't sure what to expect with a romance taking place in the 1850s. The depiction of slavery and its realities wasn't white-washed or trivialised. It made me root even harder for Hester and Galen's happily-ever-after.

I listened to the audiobook of this. The only thing that detracted from the experience was that I didn't care for the narrator's French-accented depiction of Galen and his people's voices/dialogue.

I'm definitely going to be reading more Beverly Jenkins books and more African-American historical romance.

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