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Yellow Crocus

(Freedman/Johnson #1)

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  68,051 ratings  ·  5,957 reviews

Moments after Lisbeth is born, she’s taken from her mother and handed over to an enslaved wet nurse, Mattie, a young mother separated from her own infant son in order to care for her tiny charge. Thus begins an intense relationship that will shape both of their lives for decades to come. Though Lisbeth leads a life of privilege, she finds nothing but loneliness in the comp

Kindle Edition, Revised, 253 pages
Published August 19th 2014 by Lake Union Publishing (first published December 17th 2010)
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Patricia At 15, I would encourage reading this book. It is the reality of our history. I am a devout Presbyterian of 50 years and I am 67 years old! I raised m…moreAt 15, I would encourage reading this book. It is the reality of our history. I am a devout Presbyterian of 50 years and I am 67 years old! I raised my girls in the church where they spent summers doing mission works....serving food to street people in Kansas City...and building Habitat Houses in North Carolina. There is no swear words....and the story reflects true Christian value above all else.(less)
Joehatescoffee I took it to mean that it was a "true story" from the perspective of a fictional character telling her [fictional] true story to the reader.…moreI took it to mean that it was a "true story" from the perspective of a fictional character telling her [fictional] true story to the reader.(less)

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Average rating 4.30  · 
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 ·  68,051 ratings  ·  5,957 reviews

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Caz (littlebookowl)
Nov 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
During the last 30 minutes of listening to this book, I was so full of emotion.
Angela M
Aug 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I read The Invention of Wings last year , it made me think about little I really knew about slavery in spite of having read books and seen movies depicting the despicable injustices and inhumane treatment that black slaves in this country were forced to live with . Once again, this time in Yellow Crocus, the author provides a story that showed me yet another heartache that a female slave on a southern plantation in 1837 was made to bear and my education continues.

I can't begin to explain ho
Jul 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I want to wrap my arms and legs around this book and hang onto it forever. With a depth and subtlety I'm sure I didn't even fully grasp during this first read, Yellow Crocus captured my attention and my emotions on every single page. I am hungry to pick it up and start all over again. Beautiful, warm, hopeful, and inspiring, this story unfolded so seamlessly I felt like I was living it. To finish the last page left me renewed and deeply satisfied. This is the kind of book that makes me glad to b ...more
This was a wonderfully written book! This book follows two characters, Mattie and Lisbeth, and is set in the mid-1800's in Virginia. Mattie is a slave woman for Lisbeth's family and is called in to be a wet nurse to young Elizabeth (Lisbeth). Forced to leave her own son just a few months old, Mattie is moved into the house and raises the young girl, almost as her own, for several years...

The first half of the book we gets the first several years from Mattie, but as the years wear on, it starts t
Jan 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Yellow Crocus a novel by Laila Ibrahim. Bookclub read and the one will certainly make for a good discussion. I read this some years ago so knew I was in for a great good book second time around.

I am so glad I read this Novel as the saying goes “ Good goods come in small parcels”.

Yellow Crocus -is a flower that blooms in the most adverse conditions. What a great name for this Novel, makes you appreciate the thought the author put into this book.

This is a short novel and as I have been having a
Aug 31, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Yellow Crocus received such overwhelmingly good reviews on Goodreads, and I like historical fiction, especially tales set in early America. For example, I loved The Kitchen House, which also dealt with pre-Civil War slavery. So I was really looking forward to reading this book. My expansive local library doesn't have it, so I put in an inter-library loan request and received the book from a library in Oklahoma. All good so far. Then I started reading. And, boy, was I disappointed. What could hav ...more
It's so interesting to me sometimes how my brain works. I've seen this book on Goodreads for a while now, and yet I never gave it any thought at all, never showed even the slightest spark of interest in looking to see what it was about because of the cover:

To me, that just about screams "Christian Romance". Ick.

But then I saw the Kindle edition cover when browsing the Kindle Unlimited options, and THAT one spoke to me and said that this book might be one that could interest me.

So I picked it
Sep 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was not expecting “Yellow Crocus” by Laila Ibrahim to be such a fantastic read. This book has been on my shelf for a few years now. Just shows how quickly we can pass by a jewel. I am now started reading “Mustard Seed” by Laila Ibrahim which is a sequel to “Yellow Crocus”.
Em Lost In Books
What could have been a beautiful story but turned into just a show of sugary affection because the author didn’t capture the relationship between master and the servant and the effect of slavery on it.

Yellow Crocus explores the relationship of Elizabeth, the white master, and Mattie, the black servant. When Elizabeth was born, she was handed to Mattie. It was Mattie’s job to see the needs of child, feeding and bathing etc. As the child grew up, the bond between these two also got stronger. Eliz
Mattie’s son Samuel was just three months old when Mattie became wet nurse to Elizabeth, brand new daughter at the big house. It was the 1800s and slavery was part of life. Mattie and her family knew no other way; she had last seen her mother when she’d been sold - her sister Rebecca, husband Emmanuel, son Samuel and Poppy were her family.

As Lisbeth grew, her love and devotion to Mattie strengthened. She would visit Mattie’s family at the slave’s quarters each week, becoming close to them all. B
4.5 stars rounded up. ‘Yellow Crocus’ was a wonderful surprise of gifted storytelling by Laila Ibrahim. Richly detailed with lush, living, characters, I was immersed in the culture and times of mid-1800s Virginia. An interesting time to be sure, but horrific in its enslavement of African Americans. Born into slavery, Mattie, twenty years old, is a field hand, until the birth of her son, Samuel. Then, because Mrs. Wainwright has just had a baby girl, Mattie is taken from her own child to be a wet ...more
Diane S ☔
Feb 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book that I had never heard of, but really deserves more recognition. Set on the Tidewater plantation in Virginia, before the Civil War, it follows Mattie who is a slave and wet nurse and Elizabeth, the newborn daughter of the plantation. Wonderfully written, with many poignant moments, this novel is a brilliant read of time and place. I am so glad I was not born in that time, a time when women were told want to think, talk about, existed only to please a man and make an advantageous m ...more
Wow! Another favorite to add to my top all time best! I've had this book in my list of samples for nearly a year. I remembered I read the first chapter about a young, slave who was required to leave her own baby to nurse the newborn girl of the Mistress in the big house. The relationship between Mattie & Lisbeth is so full of love, I couldn't help but adore them. I read this in just 2 days, which is fast for me. I didn't want it to end, I absolutely loved it so!! If you liked The Help The Kitche ...more
Oct 31, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book had the bones of an excellent story, but the way the personalities were expressed, the language of the people, the mood of the setting- all together it just didn't mesh for me. Nor for slavery times under these conditions. It seems a kind of fairy tale, almost like a Hansel and Gretel level aspect of nasty downside and not that era's reality of nasty. Those women, but especially Mattie, just ran flat. It isn't that she couldn't have loved Elizabeth or vice-versa, it was just the though ...more
Ruth Turner
Oct 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This is the wonderful, heart-wrenching, but also heart-warming story of the relationship between a young white girl and her slave nanny.

Beautifully written and simply told. I finished it in one sitting.
Gina *loves sunshine*
This was a very well written book - definitely grabs you and weaves a haunting story of life on the plantation. I highly recommend this if you enjoyed other popular stories about this era, and books that focus on relationships between slaves and their owners!

I'll give it an honest 3.5 stars. I kind of feel if that doesn't do it justice. It is just a reflection of my feelings and emotions about the book. It was VERY engaging, I just did not enjoy the content and connections with the ch
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this piece of historical fiction. It has been on my tbr for a long time and then I recently read a review that the audio was good. I listened to it and it was great.
Jul 23, 2015 rated it liked it
I completely used this book. I picked it solely because it fitted my A-Z challenge for a book starting with the letter Y. Then I noticed it was available on kindle unlimited, so I signed up for a month's free trial, read the book and cancelled my subscription.

Mind you, I feel this book does a fair amount of using itself. It certainly falls into that territory of playing with your heartstrings, making you feel good about humanity and giving you a happy ever after. Was it realistic? No. Did it ha
Ezinwanyi Chinyere
3.5 stars.

Why is the crocus purple when the book is called "Yellow" Crocus? The book was good, but everything was all nice and neat. This period was anything but sweet. I did like it though.
Sharon Metcalf
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
First up thanks to Celia for suggesting Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim for our most recent Buddy Read. As always it was a pleasure discussing our thoughts on this book.

Yellow Crocus, set in 1837 Virginia, opens with twenty year old field slave Mattie's world being turned upside down. Stoically kissing her 3 month old son goodbye, not knowing how long she'll be gone, Mattie is accepting of her fate. Her mistress is about to deliver her first child and Mattie will assume the role of wetnurse to th
Kerrin P
Yellow Crocus (Yellow Crocus #1) by Laila Ibrahim starts with Mattie, a field slave, being forced to leave her infant son to be the wet nurse for newly born Lisbeth Wainwright. Lisbeth is born into wealth on the Tidewater Plantation in Virginia in 1834. I have very mixed feelings about this book. The writing was at times endearing and poignant, but at other times it was simplistic and prosaic.

Currently, America is in the midst of protests that were started after the death of George Floyd on May
Feb 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
All the publishers in NYC who took a pass on this novel should be kicking themselves. I can’t even find a website for the publisher that did publish this book which makes me think it was self-pub. I discovered this book as part of a free download promo on Amazon and the synopsis grabbed me. I enjoy reading books based in the south during this time period. There are paperback copies available on Amazon, but the easiest way to read is via kindle download. Right now it is $3.99 or free for Amazon P ...more
Aug 24, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc-publisher
The description of this books sounds so captivating. Unfortunately, I had problems with it from the beginning. The dialect wasn’t quite right and even when present it didn’t feel authentic. The story didn’t feel like it was written of that time, which is partially attributable to verbiage that is from today. I had come to this conclusion even before one character used the words “laugh out loud” to describe her amusement.

Major spoilers follow!

There is a particularly fascinating series of events
Sep 11, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This was rehashed drivel about a slave owning white girl made into a hero for recognizing the basic humanity of the enslaved people around her.

I'm over it.
I listened to this as an audio book and truly enjoyed the voices of the reader. This is a beautifully narrated book about the bond between Lizbeth and Mattie. Mattie, forced to leave her own young son to become the wet nurse to the newly born Lizbeth, grows to care deeply for Lizbeth. Allowed only to visit her own son on a weekly basis for a few hours, it is Lizbeth she cares for daily. For Lizbeth it is to Mattie she turns to for comfort and care, spending little time with her mother or father. ...more
Jan 31, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks, fiction
This book was strange. The first 20% of it was breastfeeding scenes. Not an exaggeration. Finding out the author is a doula was not particularly surprising. The book also suffers from White Savior Syndrome. The narrative is solid, but lacks depth. Overall, a half-decent quick read for fans of historical fiction.
At first the main character seemed to be Mattie, an enslaved person on the Fair Oaks plantation. We find out that Mattie's family has been enslaved on the Fair Oaks plantation since 1705 when the law changed regarding West African Indentured Servants. Her ancestor was mere months from completing his term of Indentured Servitude. Mattie has an infant son, Samuel and a husband, Emmanuel who lives on another plantation and visits. Mattie has been chosen to come from the fields to wet nurse the new ...more
Apr 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
A wonderful, very emotional story about the strong lifelong bond that forms between Lisbeth, the white daughter of a southern state plantation owner and Mattie her wet nurse, from the moment of the first feed to adulthood. The book is extremely well written, the words just flow off the page and carry you along - a very easy story to read. The lead characters are both very likeable women and the bond between them is beautifully portrayed. You can certainly feel the love they have for each other y ...more
Dec 18, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This story about the slave-owning society in the ante-bellum American South makes for a pleasant enough read, as it’s well-written and tells a gentle tale of love and loyalty. But what it doesn’t do is represent the true horror of slavery and simply glosses over the worst aspects of it. It opens with the slave woman Mattie being taken away from her baby son to care for the newly born daughter of her white masters. A close relationship develops between slave and child and the bond forged between ...more
Jan 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book. I'm so glad that I took the time to read it. I loved that the characters were all flawed enough to seem real and you really didn't know if things would turn out all right at any given moment. I actually worried about the characters as I was reading. I will definitely read more by this author.

Thank you to Netgalley for providing me a copy to review.
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My education and experience in multiracial, developmental psychology and attachment theory provide ample fodder for my novels. My passion for early childhood education, child birth and religious education are reflected in my writing.

I was the founder and director of Woolsey Children's School where I had first hand experience loving children that were not my own. There are scenes in Yellow Crocus t

Other books in the series

Freedman/Johnson (3 books)
  • Mustard Seed (Freedman/Johnson, #2)
  • Golden Poppies (Freedman/Johnson, #3)

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