4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
When she is only a little girl, Lily is ripped away from her mother and sold to a cruel master in a slave auction. To her consternation, the man selling Lily is her own father. Dehumanized and mistreated in her master Jesse’s house, Lily prays for death to release her from the pain. She misses her mother dearly and longs to be reunited with her. Amidst all the physical and emotional torture, the two things that bring Lily succor are playing the piano and her friend James. But as a slave, Lily has no right to learn any new skill and so naturally, playing the piano is strictly forbidden. Also, James is her master’s son, so their friendship is an act of sacrilege. The uncanny way in which Lily learns to play the piano and the bond that she shares with James lead her on a journey she probably has never even dreamt of. The Prodigy Slave, Book One: Journey to Winter Garden by Londyn Skye is a romantic saga weaved into historical fiction.
The book starts brilliantly with an extremely poignant scene in which Lily is being forcefully taken away from her mother. Skye begins each chapter by mentioning the relevant slave codes that existed back then. As the story unfolds, the monstrosity of these so-called laws becomes evident. Characters like Lily, auntie, Ben, etc. bring to life such miseries that the readers are left numb with sadness. The story that begins with the helplessness of an intelligent slave, morphs into a romantic tale between a charismatic master and an assertive woman. Lily’s transformation is written masterfully, revealing her emotions one by one as she journeys from her master’s house to a musical performance at the Winter Garden.
Though Lily is the natural protagonist of the story, the character that intrigued me most was of James. He is a highly unpredictable character, the sort one would love to hate. He is shrewd, possessive, and cunning, all the while being uncharacteristically romantic. Lily’s romance with James seems like a fairytale, but thanks to James’ mercurial emotions, has shades of dark that are extremely heart-wrenching. Another character that I loved was William. He is very lovable and is the first person to treat Lily like a human being and not a slave.
The character descriptions by Skye are perfect, but I am not sure how historically accurate the book is. For example, one of the Negroes in the book mentions he was going to get a patent for an important technology he had developed. Given all the slave codes the author has mentioned, I doubt if any court would have heard his plea to get a patent, leave alone granting him one. Secondly, James is depicted as a character that sleeps around with women in his college. One might think that not many women would have been allowed to pursue higher education in the 19th century. It seems unlikely that the fortunate few who had that privilege would indulge in acts that would tarnish their image as virtuous ladies.
Standing at 470 pages, the book is extremely long. Skye has authored the story as if it were a script for a movie. The dialogues between characters are lengthy and oftentimes repetitive. I believe a skilled author is one who can say a lot using minimal words. There is a certain level of excitement for the reader to unravel the emotions of the characters solely from the narration, rather than being told directly through lengthy dialogues. The pace of the book also gets mind-numbingly slow midway through and drops to zero towards the end.
The book is professionally edited. I did not come across any grammatical errors. A word of caution for sensitive readers – the book has at least two explicit sex scenes, written with juicy details. There is also considerable profanity in the book. Overall, I would rate the book 4 out of 4 stars. Though I was a bit unhappy about the length of the book, the story is extremely engaging, and also educational in some ways. The ending was especially brilliant, and I find myself eagerly waiting for the next book in the series. I would recommend this book to mature readers who enjoy romantic tales based on historical facts.
The Prodigy Slave, Book One: Journey to Winter Garden
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon