Thursday, February 5, 2015

Book Review: The Secret Life of Lucy Bosman by Rebekah Pierce

The Secret Life of Lucy Bosman
By Rebekah Pierce
Publisher: The Pierce Agency
Published: Dec. 16, 2014

Amazon Synopsis:

Lucy Bosman is a shrewd business woman in a day and time not too amenable to the dreams and desires of women - especially colored women. The widow of an ex-slave and well-educated, the mulatto woman had great plans to start over and make a life for herself when she left her hometown of Nashville, Tennessee and headed further South in the spring of 1860. Two years later, Lucy is planted firmly in Richmond, Virginia, running a successful business while passing as a white woman and avoiding the personal attentions and promises of love by plantation owner, Thomas Parker. She has managed to keep her identity a secret from the town and Thomas, but the looming Civil War threatens to change everything. In The Secret Life of Lucy Bosman, nothing is safe from the destruction of war and secrets. Not even the dreams and heart of a single mulatto woman.

Book Links

My Thoughts:

Lucy Bosman is a mulatto woman who poses as a white woman in the 1860s just before the Civil War. Her husband died fighting for the freedom of the blacks. They were given their freedom papers by his father the plantation owner in Tennessee. Lucy made her way to Richmond where her husband Charles had bequeathed her a piece of property.

Lucy decided to pass herself off as a white woman and become a business woman in the city. This was a dangerous thing to do at this time as it was difficult to be a woman in the first place; to be a black woman was even more difficult.To be caught as a black woman posing as a white woman would mean death.

Lucy had to be careful of her every move because she was a slave before and had all the mannerisms of a slave now. She had to change those mannerisms to blend in as a white woman. No longer could she look down when being spoken to by another white woman. She had to look them in the eye. She had to fool both black and white because even the blacks would turn her in for the reward they would receive for turning in a runaway slave. Even though she was actually a free woman, it was not unknown of for free blacks to be carted back by slavers as runaways.

This historical novel takes us through the Civil War era and into the emancipation that President Lincoln brought the country. It was a fascinating look at what life was like for free black people and for a black person trying to pass themselves off as a white person. Skin colour really didn't mean that much, as long as you had some black ancestry in your family history you were considered black. You could be as white looking as any other white person and you would still be considered black, and therefore a slave.

I really enjoyed seeing the romance parts between the various other black and white characters and the difficulties that they faced. I empathized with Lucy as she felt that she could never marry again because otherwise she would lose her independence over her financial situation since  women had to hand everything they owned over to their husbands.

The pacing of the book was excellent and the material was well researched. All the referencing is noted at the back of the book.

For anyone who likes historical novels or who enjoys reading about black history this book would be a great one to add to your collection. I would recommend that you read it. I gave it four stars out of five.

Thank you to the author for providing a copy of this book in exchange for fair and honest review. A positive opinion was not required. All thoughts are my own.

About the Author

I have been writing and teaching English literature for over thirteen years. I have always loved mystery novels which featured protagonists who had their own demons to fight as they saved the day, so to speak. Murder on Second Street: The Jackson Ward Murders is a blend of history and fiction. The plot is set during a very pivotal time in American history: 30 days before the infamous Black Tuesday, October 29, 1929.

Over the years, I've also written and directed several award winning full-length and short plays several of which have been performed on Off-Broadway. I've been a member of several local writers' groups for both fiction and drama where my work has been widely received and supported.

Author Links

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