The Indigo Girl
by Natasha Boyd
Narration by Saskia Maarleveld
Buy Now: Downpour
The Indigo Girl is a deeply-researched and powerfully-written novel about Eliza Lucas, an extraordinary sixteen-year-old girl in Colonial-era South Carolina, who changed agriculture in the South forever, when she cultivated indigo as a viable and abundant export for the colony—something no other planter in the region had ever been able to accomplish before. Readers will be all the more captivated that the novel is based on the real life story of Eliza Lucas Pinckney, a largely forgotten figure of Colonial American history.
Excerpts from Eliza’s own letters appear between the chapters of this book, further enriching our understanding of how Eliza navigated her own family’s pressures and that of colonial society’s expectations for a young woman of her times. The Indigo Girl doesn’t shy away from confronting Eliza’s complicated feelings and actions as the daughter of a slave owner. Boyd captures these aspects of Eliza’s life in an honest and thought provoking way that will stimulate discussion.
5 “The Girl Who Saved South Carolina” Stars for the story and narration!
Based, in part, on true events (primarily from letters), and set in South Carolina in the Colonial America era (primarily from 1739 to 1744), The Indigo Girl simply blew me away! What a breath of fresh air! If you’re looking for a story that is full of inspiration and that will give you hope that dreams can come true, you must listen to The Indigo Girl. Moreover, I also loved how this story is an example that innovation and forward thinking can sometimes come from the least expected of sources, and that one should never give up trying to better one’s lot and the lot of others in your life.
Please note that for those that are familiar with my reviews, this is not a traditional historical romance. It is historical fiction based on an interpretation of true events. That said, there are romance elements and a HEA which is sure to satisfy the romance enthusiast while at the same time being an intriguing and top-rate historical fiction that is based in part on true events.
Eliza Lucas, the eldest child of an owner of several plantations in South Carolina is only 16 years old when her father returns to Antigua, leaving her in charge of the heavily mortgaged properties. As a result, Eliza is in quite a quandary. If Eliza is successful in making the plantations profitable, they will undoubtedly be handed over to her brother once he comes from England, as women did not inherit property in her day and age. If she is unsuccessful, there will be nothing left of the home she has come to love. Moreover, Eliza struggles with the cultural issues of the day. Believing that slaves should be freed, even as she struggles with tending her lands with the slaves that live on her plantations.
Fortunately, for them all, Eliza gets an idea from her time in Antigua, and given the popularity of the indigo dye, to try and plant indigo in South Carolina. They even go so far as to hire a consultant. Unfortunately, for Eliza there are many apparent and hidden obstacles in the way to her achieving her dream of learning how to adapt the indigo crops so that they can grow in South Carolina. Even as she encounters obstacle after obstacle with the help of a childhood friend (a slave who is apprenticed to the indigo crop consultant) and a family lawyer friend, she never gives up even when success appears dismal.
Ultimately, however, can a 16 year-old girl triumph in the face of all of this adversity?
The pleasing narration by Saskia Maarleveld is simply icing on the cake of a memorable, touching story. Having previously listened to and enjoyed Ms. Maarleveld, I knew I was in for a treat. Ms. Maarleveld was perfect for this role as she is able to produce both genuine American and British accents, which was necessary for this story with characters of both heritages.
Ms. Maarleveld is also able to deepen her voice sufficiently to produce believable male characters. This has the added advantage that it makes it easy to differentiate the characters that are speaking. Ms. Maarleveld even is able to make the characters sound younger or older depending on the individual characteristics penned by Ms. Boyd. In fact, just from Ms. Maarleveld’s voice, I could tell who the villains of the story were. The narration is simply fantastic, bringing the story to life which allowed me to sit back and further enjoy this great story.
All in all, if you enjoy historical fiction, and have any interest in the American colonial era, particularly the plantations of the South, then I highly recommend that you listen to The Indigo Girl. This is also a must-listen for any historical romance lovers who appreciate a strong heroine with an indomitable spirit.
Source: Review copy provided for review purposes.
About the Author
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.