Boyd has blended fact and fiction to tell the story of Eliza Lucas Pinckney. Eliza was a sixteen year old girl in 1739 when she was left in charge of the family's plantations in South Carolina, while her father pursued his military career. Determined to offset the mortgages and debt on the properties, she envisioned growing indigo on the land. Previous attempts at this crop in The Colonies had failed, but Eliza is sure she can succeed.
What a story! Eliza is curious, ambitious, intelligent, outspoken and defiant, choosing to try and follow her heart, beliefs and conscience while still navigating the ways and mores of the time period. (And staving off her mother's attempts to have her married!) She is a woman far ahead of her time in terms of both age, ambition and temperament. Boyd has shaped her characterization of Eliza from actual letters and documents that have survived the centuries. Many passages from those documents are read/written into the book. Her internal dialogue lets the reader see the pressure, turmoil and strength of this young woman.
Boyd has done a first rate job in capturing the time period through both setting and dialogue. I always enjoy the verbal parrying of 'polite' society in this time period. The descriptions of the plantations painted vivid mental images. I was fascinated by the actual planting and harvesting of indigo. This time period includes slavery in the South. Again, Eliza's thoughts and actions defy what she has grown up with. Historical details surrounding the politics of the time also play into the plot.
I chose to listen to The Indigo Girl and I'm so glad I did. I just find books come alive for me when I listen. The reader was Saskia Maarleveld and she was a wonderful choice. I could easily imagine Eliza speaking from the light, 'younger' tone Maarleveld used. She also created believable voices for the male characters, lowering and roughening her voice. Her diction is clear and easy to understand, with a slight English accent.
The Indigo Girl was such a great read/listen. I'm still in awe of that fact that this is a true story. I enjoyed the author's notes at the end. Here's a fun fact for you - President George Washington was a pall bearer at Eliza's funeral. Those of you who love history and historical fiction, you're going to want to pick this one up. Definitely recommended. Listen to an excerpt of The Indigo Girl.
"Natasha Boyd is an internationally bestselling and award-winning author of contemporary romantic Southern fiction and historical fiction. She holds a bachelor of science in psychology and also has a background in marketing and public relations. After hearing one of Eliza’s descendants speaking about Eliza’s accomplishments, the need to tell her story became so overwhelming that it couldn’t be ignored. Hence, The Indigo Girl was born. Boyd also started an Instagram account to document the research she accumulated; visit @eliza.the_indigo_girl for more information." You can connect with Natasha Boyd on her website, like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.
Isn't the cover beautiful? The indigo wash and tones of blue tie in to the story wonderfully. The Indigo Girl releases October 3/17.