4 out of 4 stars
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While not a short story, The Prodigy Slave, Book One: Journey to Winter Garden by Londyn Skye is one I would highly recommend. Not only does it provide a very clear picture of the horrors of slavery, but it also provides glimmers of hope, moments of unbelievable talent, and love that defies the odds and overcomes numerous obstacles. If you enjoy historical romance novels that also keep you at the edge of your seat, you'll love this first book in the trilogy.
In the 1800s, Lily is born a slave, whose father is also her owner. She finds this last fact out at the age of nine when he literally tears her out of her mother's arms and sells her at a slave auction. Lily's new master has three sons. The youngest, James, is close to Lily's age and he befriends her. They manage to keep their best friend status a secret for years. Unfortunately, the pressures from his family turn their relationship sour. When James returns home from college, he discovers that Lily has an amazing secret talent. However, he devises a punishment that could destroy Lily's spirit and her hope that there is good in the world.
Londyn Skye's development of characters is exemplary. The contradiction in their thoughts and actions mimics the times in which the story is set. While slavery may not have been supported in the northern states, blacks were also not treated as equals. People were afraid to show support due to repercussions. Skye also added to the tensions by starting each of the 23 chapters with a law about slavery from that time period. While not always the case, these laws felt as if they were foreshadowing troubles to come. At other times, they provided a clear example of the obstacles that Lily and James would need to overcome.
I definitely loved the character and plot development. Not only did the main characters win my heart, but the additional characters all had backstories that were slowly revealed throughout. The intricacies in the plot and how things would circle back or take a quick, unexpected turn, always kept me wondering what was in store next. I did not like the way the story ended, at least not until I remembered it's the first book of three. I can now appreciate the cliffhanger ending as I will be quickly reading the second.
The Prodigy Slave, Book One: Journey to Winter Garden deserves four out of four stars. The book appears to be professionally edited as I found no errors. This is not a book for younger audiences as it contains profanity, sexual scenes, and the brutalities of slavery are not sugar-coated. The complexities of the plot may also make it more difficult for younger readers to understand and appreciate. In short, this one is for a mature audience.
The Prodigy Slave, Book One: Journey to Winter Garden
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