ISBN #: 978-1621371571
Page Count: 500
Copyright: November 9, 2012
Publisher: Virtualbookworm.com Publishing
Dirty Rice, a novel set in the early 18th Century in the Low-Country of the early South Carolina Colony, tells of love, passion, adventure and cruelty with totally believable characters. It is the first prequel to the four books of the Mockingbird Hill series.
The early 18th Century saw vast expansion into the New World from England, the European Continent and from Africa, and the establishment of rice plantations in the coastal regions of South Carolina and Georgia. Set against this background Dirty Rice sweeps us away to a bygone era of adventure, romance and brutal reality. This is the story of African rice and African people, their knowledge, expertise and their forced labor that made the Carolina Colony the wealthiest colony in colonial America. It takes us from the plush parlors of aristocratic English absentee land owners, who set policy in the Colony to maximize profit, to the swampy shores of Carolina amid the mud and muck of rice fields, where people kidnapped from West Africa because of their knowledge and expertise in the growing of rice, were forced to work to fill the coffers of the landowners with wealth. It is a story of exploitation by some and compassion from others.
In this, as in her four previous novels, Morris' emphasis is on the people who lived and were forced to cope with what life sent their way.
This 18th Century novel focuses on colonial life in South Carolina. Set against a backdrop of rice fields, Dirty Rice focuses on its people, mainly the young Corrina, her husband's family, and her true love, Frederick. Rich in history, it paints a painful picture of the era and its struggles. Greenville Plantation is one of many that choose to import slaves from Sierra Leone in order to further their crops. As Reginald Upton, plantation overseer, must take in the slaves against his wishes and make money for the company, evil lurks in the form of a greedy nephew who stands to inherit it all.
I was a bit overwhelmed when I received all 500 pages of this novel. Having said that, it read quickly and captivated me almost instantly. While there is a plethora of historical significance, and the ugliness of slavery in most every page, her focus on the characters themselves makes this a highly intimate book. I would label this a love story above all else; the love of Corrina towards her cousin, Frederick, as well as a love for the coast of Carolina.
Ms. Morris has a gift for story and I highly recommend Dirty Rice for anyone interested in this time period. I will definitely be looking forward to the remaining books in the Mockingbird Hill series.
5 out of 5 stars!
*A physical copy of this book was provided by the publisher for the purposes of this blog tour and in exchange for an honest review.