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Mustard Seed

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  9,194 ratings  ·  541 reviews
The bestselling author of Yellow Crocus returns with a haunting and tender story of three women returning to the plantation they once called home.

Oberlin, Ohio, 1868. Lisbeth Johnson was born into privilege in the antebellum South. Jordan Freedman was born a slave to Mattie, Lisbeth’s beloved nurse. The women have an unlikely bond deeper than friendship. Three years after
Paperback, 284 pages
Published November 7th 2017 by Lake Union Publishing
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Julia P. Yes

"I'm currently working on the third novel in the Yellow Crocus series. This book takes me between Chicago and Oakland in the late 1800's. It's…more

"I'm currently working on the third novel in the Yellow Crocus series. This book takes me between Chicago and Oakland in the late 1800's. It's been sweet to discover what happens to these character I love so much and a joy to research more about local Bay Area history."
-from Laila's bio on Amazon(less)

Community Reviews

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4.20  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,194 ratings  ·  541 reviews

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I received this copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Mustard seed is a wonderful novel that captured my heart. This story conveys how people had created disparities between their skin color and how the slavery in past America had created a harsh background for the dark skinned people.
The author has managed to express the strong bond between Lisbeth (fair skinned) and Mattie (dark skinned and Lisbeth's beloved nurse) and how they had overcome their obstacles by b
Nov 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, kindle
What an incredible book! And I mean that sincerely! I would give "Mustard Seed" 10 stars if I could. This book is so apropos to what is going on in our country today. It gave me a lot to think about personally and a huge amount of "uncomfortableness" (I know that's not a word) with the world I live in.

The story itself takes place in post Civil War in Ohio and Virginia thus showing the differences between North and South after the War. I will not go into specifics because I had none when I start
Dec 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
It was a good post-Civil War story of injustice, freedom and faith. Started slow and some parts of the plot didn't work for me but some parts were entertaining and nail biting. The first book, Yellow Crocus was better imho.
Deanne Patterson
This is the second book in the series after Yellow Crocus. It's great to catch up with the family and how things are now. When Lisbeth Johnson,who was born into privilege in the antebellum South is called back home by her mother she must go,her father is dying. She is estranged from her family, their beliefs are not her own and she made a clean break when she married. Her family believes in slavery and all that entails and she knows it's wrong. Family is family though,blood is thicker than water ...more
Jun 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5/5. Interesting story about 3 women returning back to Richmond, Virginia, 3 years after the end of the Civil War. Lisbeth Johnson left her wealthy family and plantation behind 18 years earlier when she ended her family-endorsed engagement to another plantation owner to marry an abolitionist and fellow Virginian. She and her husband left her acrimonious family behind to move to Ohio where he fought under the Union flag and where they are bringing up their young children in a loving and peacefu ...more
Nima Morgan
May 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the "Yellow Crocus", so when I realized that this book was continuation of the story I was really excited to read it; and I was not disappointed at all. I didn't realize how much I craved to hear the rest of the story and to follow the journey of all these fascinating characters.
Beth Sponzilli
Mar 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is the follow up book to Yellow Crocus. The same great writing as the first, and is the continuation of Lisbeth’s and Mattie’s lives in Ohio and back to the south after the Civil War. They realize how not all freed blacks’ lives are changed for the good or at all.
May 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story was so very well told. Set in the early years after the end of the Civil War, Laila Ibrahim is incredibly skillful creating the time & tension in Virginia for both Lizbeth & Mattie & their families.

I had forgotten that this was a sequel to THE YELLOW CROCUS, which I had read in 2014. Laila cleverly weaves the earlier story into this one in such a way that this can stand alone. However, her details from CROCUS helped me remember the original story & enhanced the read of
Maureen Timerman
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
As I turned the final page of this book, I know this book will long linger with me. Now this is the second book in this series, and yes I recommend that you read “Yellow Crocus”, you won’t be disappointed. While this story brings our main characters back to Virginia the first book was during the Civil War and we followed them out.
With this story the author has us returning to Virginia, and all the while I’m screaming to myself “No”, I can just feel frightened for them, and yet I had no idea how
Lindsay Nixon
Feb 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
I’m so glad I read this book. It was the perfect selection for Black History Month.

Given the subject matter, it’s too uncomfortable for me to say “I loved this book”.

There are many difficult parts to the story, but the main theme is love and faith, which is what I enjoyed. I also felt reading this story helped further my education and understanding of American history. Although this is fiction, the story is not. There are thousands of people whose story was told here.

I do not have a lot of ex
Kate Stulce
Minority opinion

Clearly I am in the minority here. But for me the storyline and characters were overshadowed by the history particularly in the first half of the book. The era is history that hasn't gotten a lot of attention and I found the book informative in that way. I just was disappointed that portions of the book seemed focused on educating the reader on the history instead of blending the history into the storyline.
Kymm Cummins
This was the sequel to Yellow Crocus a story of a friendship between a white daughter of a plantation owner and a black slaves daughter who become life long friends. In this book they are both grown with families of their own, the Civil War has just ended and supposedly slavery is abolished however there are still parts of the South where it's still being practiced. The two families come together to help one another when they get into trouble and need help. It's well written, the characters are ...more
Apr 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Mustard Seed

This is a follow-up to a two 📚 series. The story is set in Richmond, VA during the 1800's. The Civil War has ended even though the slave holders in the South refused to admit defeat and follow the laws. The protagonists are Elisabeth (Lisbeth) Johnson and her nurse maid named Mary Hattie Bartley. Though both relocated to the North to live in the free state of Ohio, family issues call them back home. A truly enlightening novel.

A 5 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 rating.
Apr 10, 2018 rated it liked it
It was a page turner I get a bit distracted when they were talking about politics I wanted her to show little kindness to her parents but she had her reasons.. 😩
I think I would have enjoyed this more had I read the first in the series. Interesting inspirational historical novel set just after the Civil War. It follows two story lines that intertwine nicely: a white woman raising her family in liberal Oberlin, Ohio, travels south with her children to the plantation where she was raised to try to reconcile with her family and ailing father, while three blacks--mother, son, and daughter--go to the same area to try to find two children lost during the war. ...more
Oct 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Mustard Seed is the continuing story of Lizbeth and Mattie. I would highly recommend reading Yellow Crocus to really understand this epic story. This takes place after The Civil War where both Lizbeth and Mattie are facing different battles of their own. You hear from two different perspectives being Lizbeth and Mattie's daughter Jordan. The injustice these women faced and the prejudice of people was so heartbreaking to read. I love how Lizbeth stood her convictions even though her family pretty ...more
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mustard Seed by Laila Ibrahim
Genre: Christian fiction, perhaps suspense as well
Format: Audible Audiobook
Timeframe: 1868
Location: Oberlin, Ohio and Richmond, VA
Lisbeth Johnson: Virginia native married to a Northerner
Jordan Freedman: Born a slave shortly before the Civil War ended
Samuel and Mattie: Jordan’s brother and mother
Matthew Johnson: Lisbeth Johnson’s husband

1868 - Two families travel to Richmond, VA.

Brief synopsis which is a bit of a spoiler.

(view spoiler)
Sep 11, 2018 rated it did not like it
This is a time in history that I feel definitely deserves more written about it.

That being said, this book just wasn’t it. A second book was just not necessary. I enjoyed the first one and the characters, but this...the characters were forced and so overly... stereotypical? Fake? ...not sure the right word but it came across absurdly ridiculous.

The children were so out of context in their behavior for the time period that it was hard to bear their conversations. The adults too! It was like a ch
Susan Peterson
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mustard Seed is an emotional, captivating story of faith and family, and how those two things can help us through the darkest of times. The book takes place three years after the end of the Civil War, and it is a stirring account of what conditions were like for former slaves and their owners at that time. Three strong, brave, loving women are at the center of this story; women who left the South before the war began, women who believe that conditions have improved in Virginia, especially for th ...more
3.5 stars rounded up. A good story about Lisbeth & Mattie, her caregiver years after the Cival War. I liked Yellow Crocus better.
This is a story told in two perspectives: both colored and influenced by the issue of slavery and the Civil War. Set in the Reconstruction area, both Lisbeth and Jordan live in Oberlin Ohio in 1868, even if their situations couldn’t be more different, or more similar. Lisbeth left her family and home in Virginia to marry a man of her own choosing, an abolitionist, and head north to start their life. Growing up on a tobacco plantation, she was expected to marry and remain solidly a daughter of th ...more
Judi Ross
Sep 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Because I loved Yellow Crocus so much, I was anxious to read the sequel, Mustard Seed. It did not disappoint. I cared so much for both Lisbeth and Mattie that I was glad to have the opportunity to stay with them. This novel is set just shortly after the Civil War. It is apparent that the author did a great deal of research about this period; about the affects on the families on both sides of the conflict as well as the affects on the economy of the South. Lands were destroyed and now that the pl ...more
Oct 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lizbeth returns to her native Virginia to care for her dying father. She hasn't been home for several years, and her family hasn't forgiven her for breaking her engagement to the wealthy but despicable land/slave owner Edward, marrying Matthew and moving to Oberlin, Ohio.

At the same time, Mattie...who years before had been Lizbeth's nurse until she escaped slavery and fled to Ohio...returns to Virginia to rescue a family member still living and working on the plantation of her former master.

Shirley Garmon
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the sequel to Yellow Crocus. I enjoyed the first book so much I wanted to know what happened next. (You'll want to read them in order) This book is set in a horrible time in history, right after the end of the civil war, and even though we've heard so many stories of the atrocities of slavery this book really brings it to life. (But without going into too much of the gory details.)

I do not care for depressing, gory, sexual, evil or violent books or movies, and even though this is set du
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
engaging page turner. every novel i read that is historical adds a small piece to my understanding of the complex issues of an era.

this one takes place in just after the civil war - in Virginia (slave state) and Ohio (free state), with the struggles of recently freed slaves, a few white people who supported them, some brave and brilliant black people, and the ones who kept things exactly as they were before emancipation and losing the war. (and i think they still do today - sometimes it seems l
Kath Middleton
Mar 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars
This book follows on from Yellow Crocus but is set a few years later, after the Civil War. Lisbeth decides to visit her family after a letter from her mother to tell her that her father is dying. Unknown to her, Mattie and her daughter Jordan visit at the same time, to try to persuade Sarah to leave. I found the book a little slower to engage me than Yellow Crocus but once it did, it was a great story. I had assumed that slavery stopped with the emancipation legislation. Plantation owne
Shelley Young
Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Any book that can get me emotionally involved is a good book for me. Mustard Seed did that. It got me so involved and hooked within the first few chapters that I couldn't put the book down and finished reading it in one sitting. It is most definitely a book worth reading and it will have you hating the bad characters and loving other characters. I enjoyed this book immensely and wished it had been longer.
What an incredible book. From beginning to end. I can’t think of all the words to say how much I loved this. As someone who works in an antebellum plantation house museum, slavery and its depiction in all forms of media, whether in movies, TV shows, books, etc., this book hit especially hard. Also, considering the political climate that we’re in...Mustard Seed is a novel we need, and thank God Laila Ibrahim gave it to us.
Two women connected by a shared history return from the relative safety of the American North to a South still devastated by the years of civil war bringing their families with them. One is white, one black.

Both will have to make hard decisions in the aftermath of what happened, and both will face danger.

This wouldn't quite be considered Christian fiction by everyone, but an undertone of faith definitely runs through the story.

Without being graphic, the author still manages to capture the violen
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Too Slow moving

I was disappointed with this book and didn't finish it, which is not something I usually do. I can only recall doing this just a few times in my reading lifetime. I got about 50% through. I enjoy reading about the Civil War, learning more about the struggles & hardships of the people of the time. This one just didn't hold my attention. The story went back & forth between the freed slave family and the families who owned the plantations. Sometimes it felt like I was reading
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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
“You don’ have to know how or why faith work—you jus’ got to make sure you find some when you feelin’ lost.” 0 likes
“Getting you to lose your hope the biggest weapon they gots. So our best weapon is to hold on to hope, however we can.” 0 likes
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