Testimony of an Irish Slave Girl
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Testimony of an Irish Slave Girl

3.29 of 5 stars 3.29  ·  rating details  ·  313 ratings  ·  65 reviews
Kidnapped from Galway, Ireland, as a young girl, shipped to Barbados, and forced to work the land alongside African slaves, Cot Daley's life has been shaped by injustice. In this stunning debut novel, Kate McCafferty re-creates, through Cot's story, the history of the more than fifty thousand Irish who were sold as indentured servants to Caribbean plantation owners during...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published January 28th 2003 by Penguin Books (first published February 18th 2002)
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Debrakin
Had I not been conducting genealogical research on the Newton family, I would never have found this wonderful book. With a title too akin to typical modern "trash" novels, it would have stayed on the shelf.

What a delight it was to find it! I would highly recommend it to my AP students, or to anyone who would like to know more about the slavery experience, or to the development of early plantations in Barbados.

Book is well researched historically and suitable for academic audiences. Beautiful pr...more
Maol Mhuire O'Duinnin
Cot Quashey, or Cot Daley as she was known before she got married, narrates a tale spanning her entire life for a British scribe who is subject to the British Governor of Barbados. Cot is a prisoner when we enter the story who is charged with telling about her part in the slave uprising of 1675 (I think, can't quite remember exact years). By this point in the story, Cot has lived most of her life in indentured servitude or slavery (sometimes they were interchangeable), although she was captured...more
Paula  Obermeier McCarty
Interesting Read. Recently discovered that one of my ancestors was kidnapped from Scotland as a young girl and sold into indentured service around 1690. I was astounded by the numbers of people who kidnapped from Ireland and Scotland and forced to become indentured servants. Almost unbelievable! Am also planning to read "The Kitchen House" by Kathleen Grissom. It's a similar story that takes place in Virginia and has some excellent reviews.
Carla
The book is testimony of an Irish slave woman, telling an "official", while he writes it down, of how the Irish and African came to revolt against their owners. She agrees to tell all, if she can tell it "her" way, in detail, from the beginning. We then hear of the abomination of being poor, and Irish, led her and thousands to slavery in the Caribbean.

Immediately, upon starting the book, I started an internet search to get more information, and it was astounding. From 1641 to 1652, over 500,000...more
Heather McCorkle
This is an amazing, heartbreaking book about a time in history that many would like forgotten. It is brilliant and important. Testimony should be on reading lists everywhere.

That said, it is true to its title and is a testimony where the main character is telling her story to a man who is writing it all down so it certainly breaks the 'show don't tell' rule in a huge way. But it's worth it because it is that good.
Ida
A wonderfully written tale told in a passionate voice, describing the harrowing servitude of an Irish woman kidnapped as a child from Ireland and sold into slavery on the island of Barbados in the 1600's. An eye-opening look at an era of brutality and a story that reveals the little-known fact that white slaves as well as blacks helped build the British colonies. This is a compelling novel.
Kristen
Well, I gave it up until page 106, which is a bit over the halfway point. I just didn't really care about the characters. At all. There were bits, here and there, that would catch my eye, but then it was back to the same ho-hum-ness. *shrug* The premise is interesting, but the style just didn't work for me.
Dena Beck
This was a really enjoyable read that kept my interest. It is historical fiction, and if you enjoy that type of novel, this is a good one. Based on an Irish slave in Barbados. It was a part of history I didn't know anything about. Her story really pulls you in.
Bill
As Cromwell conquers Ireland, thousands of Irish are sent to the Caribbean as indentured servants/slaves. An interesting look at little known events in the history of slavery in the Americas.
Jan
I had no idea that the Irish sent exiles to the Caribbean Islands to work as slaves- a horrible, brutal existence. Quite interesting to learn about this little-know chapter of slavery.
Karen Smith
Interesting. I liked the real history of Irish and Scots people who were indentured in to slavery in Barbados. The story itself was sad. It kept my attention.
Kathleen
very interesting novelization of early days of British colony at Barbados based on actual facts
Beth
This story was a struggle to get through for two reasons:
The first is that it was written more as a third-person narrative biography, making it difficult to personally relate to the characters and therefore difficult to personally care about their strife. Although there is strife and sorrow by the bucketful, and it's horrible and shocking, it's very removed and thus by the middle of the book it becomes background noise rather than the driving action.

The second is that it chronicles the actual ev...more
Barb
I recently read Kathleen Grissom's 'The Kitchen House' about an indentured servant from Ireland who works on a tobacco plantation in southern Virginia. She arrives when she is seven years old and the story follows her to adulthood. The novel is primarily narrated in her voice and she is a wonderfully realistic and sympathetic character.

So, following that novel, which I loved and highly recommend, this was interesting but didn't have the emotional depth of 'The Kitchen House'. I'm glad I read it...more
Amanda
I'm really surprised by the other reviews for this book - I rather liked it. I was really intrigued by the subject of the book, slavery in Barbados in the 1600s. The premise of the story - Cot Quashey, an irish slave girl giving her testimony of a slave uprising, but instead gives her life story - is a bit odd, but it manages to not only tell the story in a slightly different way, it also gives a bit of insight into the point of view of the other half, the masters, through Peter Coote's reaction...more
kasia
I'm still waffling between two and three stars on this one. The book is about what I expected it to be. Aside from the initial hook of it being the story of an Irishwoman who forms close ties with her fellow African slaves in Barbados and participates in a rebellion, it's actually not an especially creative or surprising work. I don't doubt that the book is well researched, but unfortunately, the mentalities of the characters are so much what you'd expect that they come across as flat. The writi...more
Kathy
Testimony of An Irish Slave Girl - Kate McCafferty

A different take on the cruel enslavements were also the indentured servitudes of the 1600's. Those who freely became an indentured servant served up to seven years then they were free. However, not only was slavery cruel but those forced or kidnapped into indentured servitude was equally disturbing.

Cot Daley was 10 years old when she was kidnapped from Ireland and sold on the autioneers block in Barbados into indentured servitude. The story is...more
Rodney Moorhead
I at first thought this was a nonfiction book when I bought it. My mistake. However it is wonderfully written and you can tell the writer did a lot of research. A lot of folks don't know just how many white slaves there were in the new world and often how they were treated a lot worst than others.
James Neel
Meh.

The story itself was ok (contrived premise, but hey, I like scifi so who am I to complain), but I found myself repeatedly distracted by an inconsistent writing style. (eg a) sometimes third person narration was present tense, sometimes past, and occasionally future sometimes language was appropriate for the speaker but sometimes it was clearly the voice of an English prof coming through)

For many books I read, this is not such a problem. But to me it appeared that the raison de être of the bo...more
Mel
Tedious, monotonous and to me, unbelievable. I knkow it's fiction, but it's not fantasy. I think it should be somewhat believable.
A man is hired by the Governor of Barbados to write the story of the Irish Slave girl.
Would someone actually spend four days writing the life story of this Irish Slave about how and why she came to be transporting guns?
At the time the book takes place I didn't think so. In America the abolitionists took the time to record the stories of the slaves. But they were wor...more
E. Chainey (Bookowski)
Mar 26, 2014 E. Chainey (Bookowski) marked it as to-read
Şu kapağın güzelliğine bakın ya! Harika, bayıldım <3
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I just fell in love with the cover. So beautiful <3
C
I think I've read this one before. Wasn't really a fan of the writing style. Wasn't especially enjoyable for me.
Christine
Testimony of an old lady who was a slave girl is a better title, this is pretty boring.
Andrea Dowd
"Testimony of an Irish Slave Girl" was picked up because the premise sounding interesting. Who knew that the Brits in Ireland were sending Irish men, women, and children to the Caribbean islands as slaves?

The story of Cot, kidnapped an sold into Barbadian slavery starts out with a British gentleman, taking her testimony as a rebellion member. Unfortunately for both Peter Coote and the reader, her story is long, unnecessarily drawn out and tedious.

Even at a short 200 pages, I couldn't get half-wa...more
Beth
This book took me a while to finish. The material is compelling and horrifying, given that it's based on actual historical events. However, the execution is less compelling, being that the narrative is in past tense and varies between two characters (one of which is a prig). Although I was horrified by what Cot went through, I felt no personal connection to her and therefore had to push myself to get through it.

I think this is a good jumping-off point for exploring this point in history, but oth...more
Tom
I really really wanted to like this . It's got Ireland and history in it, therefore, it should have earned 5 stars. However, it failed to impress me. The narrative is pretty simple, but never seems to go anywhere. And granted, that could be a fairly good analogy for the life of a slave, but I still wanted some kind of story, and not just a never ending litany of "this happened, and this happened, then this happened, etc." It was boring. I'm glad it wasn't longer than it was or I probably would n...more
Nina
It was an interesting subject matter because I know nothing about Irish slavery in the mid 1800's. However, the sad way the story was told just gave a very dismal feeling. There wasn't much for me to like about the heroine and the most I got from this book was learning some very old vocabulary that I had never encountered before.
BookDigger
I didn't like this book all that well. It seemed almost, well, dry to me. Yes, it had some insight to the girl's life, but I honestly got a little confused along the way and I didn't feel connected. It didn't seem realistic enough for my taste. Though, I wouldn't not recommend it to someone, I just didn't find it enjoyable.
Tara
May 28, 2008 Tara rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: liked
This was a good book, but it could have been soooo much beter. The topic was facinating, but the writing a bit slow and uninspiring in my opinion.The story was also a bit lacking in character development. I would still recomend it, just because i learned a lot about a little talked about subject (The Irish Slave trade).
A
Nov 17, 2008 A is currently reading it
Good Example of how not all whites are bad whities- some whites have been slaves themselves. Fascinating look at white slave culture and their merging with African slaves; Irish roots, and the incredible spirit of slaves, especially "slave" women in the not so long ago Carribean.
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“To dance to fey music is the beginning of the end.” 2 likes
“I try to clutch onto those last moments in the place that I was born to, but I was so busy *living* them! How was I to know I'd have to capture everything I ever wanted to remember of Eire for the rest of my life?” 1 likes
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