Book Reviews of Cane River

Cane River
Cane River
Author: Lalita Tademy
Audio Books swap for two (2) credits.
ISBN-13: 9781586210625
ISBN-10: 1586210629
Publication Date: 4/1/2001
Edition: Audio Csst
Rating:
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 16

3.8 stars, based on 16 ratings
Publisher: Warner Adult
Book Type: Audio Cassette
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

107 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Cane River on + 162 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
This book surprised me. Author Tademy gave up a plumb job at Sun Microsystems, I believe it was, to research her roots and bring us this novel (she's since written a second.).

The story is strong and vividly written, with characters it is easy to love and who stay with you for a long time after you close the book.

This is one I liked so much, I've picked up spare copies to spread around.
reviewed Cane River on + 209 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
this book is great! It is a historical account of Ms. Tademy's family heritage. Three generations of women play major roles in this book. It was very touching and heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time.
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Helpful Score: 4
This story will tear your heart to pieces over and over again. It's an incredible account of several generations of women who live through slavery, emmancipation and every kind of hardship that can strike a family. Even though we're too old for books with pictures, the photos in this book speak just as many words as the text does. It's a miracle that the author was able to locate original documents from the plantations, and you'll be compelled to study them. I can't believe I'm parting with this book, but it's just too wonderful not to share it. Feel free to email with any questions. ~LeAnn
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Helpful Score: 3
A friend recommended this book to me and after the first 30 or so pages I thought - Hmmm... I'm not so sure about this one. So many different names - I was having a hard time following the story and all the characters. But, wow - it didn't take long after that. I loved the story. I loved the relationships between the women, the vivid descriptions of the events and the real emotion that came through all of their experiences. Great book!
reviewed Cane River on + 92 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This novel, based on fact, details the lives of decendants of pre-Civil War slaves. Family pictures and copies of documents are a wonderful addition. Ms. Tademy has written an amazing family history that should be required reading.
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Helpful Score: 2
This review was originally written for the audio version, but it holds true, obviously, for the print version. So I repeat it here with hopes it might help someone's choice of read.

Yes! This was an Oprah pick...but forget that. This is a great book anyway.

I spent the entire day listening to this 6 hour audio as I walked and gardened, then just sat on the stoop doing nothing but listening. Perhaps it was the readers, Shari Belafonte, Jo Marie Payton, and Edwina Moore, who seemed to take a generation each to read about. They breathed such life into the characters, such love and determination into their lives. Depressing--well, all Oprah books seem to be, at least those I've read. But this book was different. Of course it had its depressing moments, after all, a book about Black women set in the south during the 1800's would be, but then along would come these scenes that would lift you right out of that misery. Make you so proud and make you wish you knew these women.

Multi-generational, it somewhat reminded me of Roots, with the focus all upon the women.

And something I found very neat: the author, Lalita Tademy, did an introduction where she admitted that after finding the documents and such of these relatives, when she decided to write the story, she did not hesitate to use her imagination where things could not be proved.
reviewed Cane River on + 100 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I liked this book a lot. It did not dwell upon the detailed cruelty of slavery but rather the strength of the people who endured through generations of changes. It was an interesting look at plantation life in central Louisiana for over 125 years.
reviewed Cane River on + 47 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is long book but it reads fast. Historical fiction about three geenerations of women in Louisiana, follows their struggles in , up and out of slavery. Very interesting depiction of the culture of french and creole which is unique to that part of the country.
reviewed Cane River on + 32 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is a true story of a woman's Southern ancestry, both white and black. I read this book several years ago but the story was so unique and well told that I still remember much of the plotline. As an added bonus, the author has supplied some wonderful photos of the ancestors mentioned in the book.
reviewed Cane River on
Helpful Score: 1
Loved this book! Very interesting multi-generation story of a family that started out in slavery and what happened to them during the Civil War years, the Reconstruction, and on into the 1930s and Jim Crow traditions. Loved the strong female characters and the relationships among them. Loved that the author included actual documents in book: this book is the author's family history, retold as fiction. Great idea to include copies of bills of sale, photos, etc.

I liked how all the women were different in what they wanted from life, what they were willing to settle for, how they managed crisis. Liked how the men were all different as well. Loved that these were long-lasting relationships, The love relationships were complicated by the social norms of the time, which was believable and poignant. Ownership is a theme in the story: ownership of human persons, then land/business ownership by African Americans, complicated by themes of identity, family obligation, etc. Much enjoyed the part of the story set in New Orleans; many Americans are not aware how different that city was from any other urban or rural African American experience. Family relationships were nuanced and believable: I was much moved by them.

The writing is excellent. Hard to believe this is the author's first novel, it is so good. I hope she writes more. This is the kind of historical fiction I really like: centered on one family, one place, very human in scale. The events and changes in history affect the lives of the characters. You can see how changes in attitudes are reflected in laws regarding marriage, legitimacy, land/business ownership, etc. That's how history affects the lives of real people, and I loved it that the author kept the story focused on that.
reviewed Cane River on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This book was amazing! If you like historicaly correct, generational novels you will love this book. Set on the plantations of Louisians Cane River in the 1800's, you will follow 7 generations of strong women fighting to make life better for the next generation.
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Helpful Score: 1
I really liked how it followed them for years, it really gave them growth and see how different things shaped them. It kept me really drawn in and caring about the characters.
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Helpful Score: 1
A good look at slavery. Written as a memoir. It is still very shocking to me that we enslave people as a human race. It rimnds us to not forget history and to realize that slavery is still going on today. It was a hard book to put time and a times very emotional.
reviewed Cane River on + 15 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Four generations of brave women battle injustice in Louisiana's Cane River.
reviewed Cane River on + 20 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Historical fiction based on the author's research of her own geneology. From slavery sales slips and other documentation along with family stories she pieces together a heartbreaking and awe inspiring story of life unimaginable (times where children were ripped from slave women's arms to be sold, etc).

Its been years since I read this book and would like to read it again.
reviewed Cane River on + 552 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
From Our Editors
When the urge hit her, Lalita Tademy was corporate vice president of Sun Microsystems: "I had the feeling there was something else I was supposed to do." While she was deciding what that something else was, Tademy spent two years researching "the slave branch" of her family, "my mother's side." Returning to her ancestors' Cane River roots, she scouted old sharecroppers' farms; ransacked old courthouse archives; plotted a paper trail from grueling bondage to better days. Then, discovering what "I was supposed to do," she sat down to write this novel about the lives of slaves who were never allowed to write it themselves. Genealogy with wings.

From the Publisher
Mingling historical fact with fiction, Lalita Tademy's epic novel is based on the lives of four generations of African American women and is the result of years of exhaustive research and an obsessive odyssey to uncover her family's past.
reviewed Cane River on + 188 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Cane River is the fictionalized account of Lalita Tademy's family history, the story of four generations of African-American women whose destinies were not of their own choosing, but who fought to keep their families together. This is one story that stays with you for a long time! You won't forget Elisabeth, Suzette, Philomene, Gurtie, and many other characters in this book.
reviewed Cane River on + 94 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is a powerfully drawn story of generations of the women of a black family in Louisiana. It is written as a novel, but is based on the history of the author's family.
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Helpful Score: 1
Found it to be a quick read and an education on the social strata in Louisiana regarding people of varying degrees of color as it was shortly before the Civil War and after. Fascinating to see how the author weaves threads of her ancestry into a satisfying novel that flows from one generation to the next without feeling like a monotone history lesson.
reviewed Cane River on + 9 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
The book impressed me greatly. Lalita Tademy the author retraces the roots of her African-American family. It was unique history written like a novel. Her roots were from slaves. free people of color and whites. What I like most was the family togetherness that last five generations.
reviewed Cane River on + 10 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is a wonderful peek into the life of slaves and black heirarchy within their own culture. Following a family (it includes photos!) it paints such a vivid picture...really the best book I had read in a long time. So many times I cried...so many times I thought that things were so unfair. Unbelievable accounts of things I had never even thought of (and that schools don't teach) on black slavery. Honestly written, everyone should read this book!
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really good
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this is the story of a family's roots, and the stories of four astonishing women who battled vast injustices to create a legacy of hope an achievement. They wree women whose lives began in slavery, who wethered the Civil War, and wh grappled with the contradictions of emancipation through the turbulent early years of the twentieth century. A book to make you live in the shoes of the people who were born into slavery, and their struggles to be free.
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A wonderful tale of generations of slaves and freed slaves in Louisiana. One generation improves on the plight of the family, only find themselves no better off than when they were slaves. An excellent read.
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Excellent! The views of family and culture is eye-opening!
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This book is about a family who was brought to this country as slaves. The story tells about each generation and how life was for them. It tells how the mothers wanted to improve life for themselves and for their children and grandchildren.

I am white, but I must tell you I am a little jealous that I haven't had a book written about MY family like this one. Its a good read.
reviewed Cane River on + 40 more book reviews
What a wonderful book. Written about the lives of 4 african american women through slavery and after through their struggles and triumphs, I found myself admiring each of these women for the strength they had and their devotion to family through all the hard times. A well written novel and a excellent read. Highly recommend this book.
reviewed Cane River on + 11 more book reviews
Epic novel of four generations of African American women, based on one families actual researched past, unforgettable storytelling
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I enjoyed this book greatly. It is the story of one woman's research into her family tree.
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Oprah's book club. This is an amazing account of one family's roots in early Louisiana through modern day times. ..."they (her grandmothers) fought to unite their family and forge success on their own terms." Very inspiring story of survival during slavery, with pictures of the author's own family which the book is based on. Fascinating.
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On a Creole plantation on the banks of Louisiana's Cane River, four generations of astonishing women battle injustice to unite their family and forge success on their own terms.
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This is a great story that got me to thinking about my heritage.
reviewed Cane River on
This is one of the best novels I have ever read. I purchased a signed hard cover because I think so highly of it.
reviewed Cane River on + 109 more book reviews
I've heard all good things about this amazing story of 4 generations of women on a Creole plantation.
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A multi-generational book that spans from the Civil war to modern times. Very good book
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An epic novel of four generations of African-American women based on one family's actual past.
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Awesome book about generations of strong women in a family that begins in slavery and the struggle and hardships endured to gain freedom and economic independence.
reviewed Cane River on + 38 more book reviews
Great book about generations of slave women and free women and how their lives entertwined...
author wrote book about real people in her family way back...
filled with love and sadness...gives you an awesome picture of how things were and how strong some women are..
reviewed Cane River on + 2 more book reviews
****

Had read The Help not long ago. This is a much better book.
reviewed Cane River on
This is a fascinating blend of historical fiction and Tademy's family narrative through several generations beginning in the antebellum South. It's a tribute to strong women who faced complicated and painful "color lines" .
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Great book, I always love what Oprah picks!
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Covering a century's period of time, "Cane River" tells the story of a family born into slavery. Four strong women--in their own ways--Elisabeth, Suzette, Philomene and Emily each strive to better the lives of their children. It's a true story but has been fictionalized (like "Roots") and the author is a marvellous storyteller.
reviewed Cane River on + 5 more book reviews
WOW! Thids book is awesome. It brings a new light on what the slaves went through. Three generations of women and thier children. This book is a must read for all.
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excellent story. It moves along quite quickly, but you are still deeply drawn into the story.
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Very interesting book about Southern history. Good read!
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Very interesting story.
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I liked this book about Tademy's ancestors and their struggles in the 19th and early 20th century. I especially liked the way she inserted images of newspaper accounts, slave auction lists, and census records. I would read these documents just after reading the fictional account and would connect the names to the characters, making them more "alive." I look forward to reading the sequel, Red River.
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I like this book and I admire the way the author didn't let difficulties in research keep her from writing a great story.
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Excellent!
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Tells the tale of five generations of black women and their families - from slavery to freedom or what is perceived as freedom. This was an Oprah book club selection.
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We can be thankful that Lalita Tademy found an interest in her family's history...sparked by family memories of Emily "Tite"....a strong woman that passed many generations before Lalita experienced Colfax and Cane River, Louisiana.

The passion she poured into her search for her family's history provides the gift of this novel, which weaves the details and truths she was able to unearth about the generations of slaves that came before her with her own imaginings of the details and happenings of their days.

Unlike some novels about the slave experience, Cane River is written in straight-forward prose with a focus on the people and personalities - not dwelling unnecessarily on the cruelty and ugliness inherent in slavery. In fact, the ugliness of their situation is treated somewhat matter-of-factly, which I supposed it would have been by the slaves themselves, who would have had no choice but to accept their circumstances.

The players in this book are powerful, passionate and intriguing. The action is engaging and plot propelling. A tremendous work of historical fiction.
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This was an incredible story!
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Women from four generations of a southern family struggle to unite their family and gain success. From slavery to the twentieth century, this books portrays family life as never before.
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A unique accomplishment, this is history never before told, an epic novel of four generations of African-American women based on one family's actual meticulously researched past.

This is a very good, well written and easy reading book.
reviewed Cane River on + 329 more book reviews
Yes! This was an Oprah pick...but forget that. This is a great book anyway.

I spent the entire day listening to this 6 hour audio as I walked and gardened, then just sat on the stoop doing nothing but listening. Perhaps it was the readers, Shari Belafonte, Jo Marie Payton, and Edwina Moore, who seemed to take a generation each to read about. They breathed such life into the characters, such love and determination into their lives. Depressing--well, all Oprah books seem to be, at least those I've read. But this book was different. Of course it had its depressing moments, after all, a book about Black women set in the south during the 1800's would be, but then along would come these scenes that would lift you right out of that misery. Make you so proud and make you wish you knew these women.

Multigenerational, it somewhat reminded me of Roots, with the focus all upon the women.

And something I found very neat: the author, Lalita Tademy, did an introduction where she admitted that after finding the documents and such of these relatives, when she decided to write the story, she did not hesitate to use her imagination where things could not be proved.
reviewed Cane River on + 59 more book reviews
unabridged
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It was a wonderful book - the stories of many generations of this family in Louisiana and their struggles and triumphs. Slavery to freedom. I hated when it ended!
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Amazing story...very moving and disturbing!
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Very interesting. From Back Cover: This is a epic novel of four generations of African-American women, a work based on the author's acutal past. It is on a medium sized Creole plantation owned by a family name Derbanne that the stories of four astonishing women who battled vast injustices to creat a legacy of hope and achievement come to life. They were women whose lives began in slavery, who weathered the Civil War, and who grappled with the contracictions of emancipation through the turbulent early years of the twentieth century. Through it all, they fought to unite their family and forge success on their own terms. Amid small farmhouses and a tightly knit community of Frency-speaking slaves, free people of color, and whites, Tademy'ds great-great-great grandmother Elisabeth would bear both a proud heritage and the yoke of slavery. Her youngest daughter Suzette, would be the first to discover the promise-and heartbreak-of freedom. Suzette's strong-willed daughter Philomene would use determination born of tragedy to reunite her family and gain unheard-of economic independence. And Emily, Philomene's spirited daughter, would fight to secure her children's just due and preserve their future against dangerous odds.
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I loved this book. Based on a real families history. Facinating. Heartbreaking. Inspiring. One of my favorite books of all time.
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This is a FABULOUS book for many reasons.

If you'd like the details, please check out my complete review ... it's just too long to post it all here.

Also, if you have any interest in researching your family history you'll find the author's efforts fascinating.
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Good reading
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an oprah book sublime histtttorical novel
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Great story
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This is a great book. Really enjoyed it.
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This book is a "can't put down" read. Not only are the characters rich, but Tademy offers a great deal of historical info and great insight into the struggle of women from slavery to the present. It was fun referring to the family tree, numerous times, in order to keep track of generations of Tademy's ancestors. Excellent book!!!
Carol M. (mammlady).
reviewed Cane River on + 36 more book reviews
A pleasure to read. I hated to put it down. I am looking forward to reading her other book Red River.
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A captivating read reminiscent of Roots.
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The story of several generations of slave women in the deep south before, during, and after the Civil War. Their stories are told in depth, much heart break, surprises, and a glimps of the strength of these women. I highly recommend, especially for women of all ages.
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Well worth reading
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Great book, the dialects are a little hard to understand sometimes but overall a great read.
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This book chronicles the epic story of several generations of black women in the south. It begins in the time of slavery through the Civil War and beyond. It is a great character driven novel whose backdrop is very educational and rich.
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very interesting how four generations have gone through almost the samething. Loved it and would recommend it to everyone to read it! Sad, but very interesting!
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Good read also gives an understanding to how the times were back when.
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I really enjoyed this book -- it's a true story of a slave woman and her descendants through freedom and how they survived once slavery was abolished.
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This an Abridged version of the book on four Audio Cassettes, Aprox. 6 hours of listening. Intro read by Author and the rest of the book features the voices of Shari Belafonte, Edwina Moore and Jo Marie Payton.
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Once I satrted reading this book, I couldn't put it down. I had to see what happened next to this family. A true story at it's base, done in fiction, it keeps you riveted.
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I thought this was a wonderful book, for me it was writen well and was very easy to read, I had no idea that it was one of Oprah's book club picks... but if her picks are this good, I need to pay better attention!!!
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This is a fantastic, unable to put down story1 I loved it!!!
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on a plantation of a Louisiana's Cane River, four generations of astonishing women battle injustice to unite thier family and forge success on their own terms
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This book was so fantastic, that I could not put it down
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I love this book. It tells you of a different time long ago.
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great book! really opened my eyes to the struggles the newly-freed slaves had to face back in the civil war era...would reccomend this book
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This is a good story involving the lives of 4 women who began in slavery and still didn't let that get them down. Historical book about strong women.
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Wonderful book!
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This is a very good book but not for the super soft hearted as it does deal with slavery.Elisabeth is a slave from Virginia who is taken from her husband and children, sold onto a new plantation. Here begins the story of the Cane River women, Suzette, Philomene and Emily. I was compelled to read every detail of their lives from slavery to freedom. I shared their heartbreak, joy, suffering and triumph, on the journey to freedom. The book paints a long lasting impression of the power of love and family. A book I will think of for a long time to come. This story is based on Tademy's genealogy so much of it is historically accurate. It is a very good read.
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The author of the book was Vice President of Sun Microsystems when she decided to quit her job and research her family history. That research took her to Louisiana along the Cane River where she traced her family back to the beginning of 1799. Although part of the book is historical fiction quite a bit of it was based on information that she found during her research. The book covers 4 generation of women starting with Elizabeth who was born in 1799 into slavery. Suzette her youngest daughter who bore her first child at the tender age of 14 after being raped by a friend of her master. Suzette's strong willed daughter, Philomene who found a way to get what she wanted from another slave master and finally her daughter Emily who was the only one who did not have to go through the hardship of slavery.

At times this was quite heartbreaking reading what these women went through, but all 4 of them did not let the current situation they were in keep them from what they really needed or wanted. These were some of the strongest women ever. Anyone who is intrested in family history or genealogy I would highly recommend.
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excellent book
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A page turner!
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Excellent family saga spanning 4 generations of strong women. My book club loved it!
Lindy
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This is a very interesting history of 4 generations of African American women based on one family's actual past.
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passed this around to my family, all loved it, didn't want it to end!
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Excellent book, one of Oprah's book club books.
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Best book I have read in a long time. Gave it 5 stars.
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A good read.
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Really fast and interesting read.
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Oprahs Book Club book!
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Great piece of historical fiction.
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A very good novel of the history of four women in the authors family tree that were slaves. She searched her family tree and it comes out to be a beautiful story about slavery, and what happens to slaves of wealthy owners.
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a"...novel of four generations of African-American women based on one family's actual past...." (from back cover)
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Did not read it.
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A really great story of several generations of black ladies. This is an Oprah's Book Club book.
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Wonderful story of the old south and the slaves who lived there.
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This was a very good read.
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A family saga of an unusual Louisiana family from its roots in slavery to the 20th century.
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I didn't read the book so I cannot provide a rating but it is an Oprah picked book!
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Great condition.