4 out of 4 stars
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The Prodigy Slave, Book One: Journey to Winter Garden is a poignant love story written by Londyn Skye. The story is set in Virginia of 1840-60 and is the first book in a series of three books.
Lily was only nine years old when her father ripped her from her mother's arms to sell her off at a slave auction. Lily finds an unlikely friend in ten years old James, the youngest son of her new master. James and Lily's secret friendship is the only escape they both have from their otherwise traumatic and harrowing childhood. Lily's world is plunged into desolation once again when James's father discovers his son being friends with a slave. James is sent off to medical school but not before he is brainwashed into treating Lily 'just like any other slave'.
Lily has no idea of her own genius when she breaks another rule and teaches herself to play the piano in her master's house. She discovers that music is the only channel left with the power to help her cope with the mountainous losses she has faced in her short life. She manages to keep it a secret for years until one day, James walks in on her playing the instrument. To punish her for breaking the rules, James plans an elaborate scheme that changes Lilly's life forever.
Despite her talent, will she continue to be the prisoner of a broken society forever? Will she ever get her best friend back? Can a slave dare to dream? Will the symphonies that she creates in her head ever see the light of the day? The book answers these questions and more. However, the book ends on a shocking cliffhanger that made me reach for the second book in the series right away.
Londyn Skye is an exceptional author. She took me on a roller coaster ride that made me feel Lily's emotions as my own. I loved how well she has created all characters and each of their journey with Lily and James. Their victories had me whopping with joy, their deceit made me hate them, and their pain moved me to tears. The book made me believe in greatness, joy, kindness, courage, and hope in the most unlikely situations, just like the characters.
The book is lengthy, but it only contributes to the authenticity of the world Londyn has created. I appreciate the author's courage in keeping the details about cruelties and injustice of those times raw, without toning it down for the sake of making it more palatable. One realizes that even though the story is fictional, many similar incidents would have happened in reality just as they are described in the book. That makes the fictional part of the story more powerful and moving.
There is nothing that I disliked in the book. The book has been edited exceptionally well, and I did not find any grammatical errors. Expect scenes of abuse, graphic violence, racial abuse, profanity, and erotic scenes in the book. Because of that reason, I would not recommend this book to be read by younger readers or children.
I was emotionally invested in the plot and characters. Throughout the book, I did not feel like putting it down, and I will be reaching for the second book in the series as soon as I finish writing this review and for that reason, I rate this book four out of four stars.
The Prodigy Slave, Book One: Journey to Winter Garden
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