In 1739, Eliza Lucas is sixteen years old when her father leaves her in charge of the family’s three South Carolina estates so he can go chase his dreams of a military career. With the estates floundering on the edge of ruin, Eliza decides that producing indigo is the family’s only hope.
But not even her family wants her to succeed, and no one will share the thousand-year-old secret to making indigo dye, so Eliza must form a forbidden friendship with a slave who promises to teach her—if she breaks the law and teaches the slaves to read. Eliza is on her own as she fights against tradition and the law, except for the friendship of an aging horticulturalist and the married lawyer who is a friend of the family.
Somehow, I did not realize The Indigo Girl was historical fiction until I finished reading it. Though the issues of slavery and women’s rights in the book bothered me, that stuff happened, and erasing history means we won’t learn from it. Eliza was a wonderful character—and the fact that the character is at least partially based on a real-life woman who fought tradition and oppression is even better—strong, determined, and with the courage to stand up for what she believes in and fight even her family to do what’s right. This is a great read!
(Galley provided by Blackstone Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)