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Mustard Seed

(Freedman/Johnson #2)

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  16,712 ratings  ·  1,039 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 bee…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)

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Average rating 4.23  · 
Rating details
 ·  16,712 ratings  ·  1,039 reviews

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Ardent Reader
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
When Lisbeth Johnson was summoned by her mother to return to her home in Virginia as her father was dying, her thoughts were mixed. She had escaped her family home after refusing to marry the man her parents had readied for her – a cruel, brutal man – and in marrying Matthew had estranged her mother, father and brother Jack. But she felt it right to return to her father’s side and took her two children, six-year-old Sadie and nine-year-old Sammy to visit.

Meanwhile, also in Ohio, Mattie Freedman,
Nov 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, netgalley
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
Sep 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first read “Yellow Crocus” by Laila Ibrahim and absolutely enjoyed it. I just finished reading “Mustard Seed” by Ibrahim the second book in her series. I was not expecting it to be as good but I was wrong “Mustard Seed” is every bit as good as “Yellow Crocus”. I am now starting the third book in the series “Golden Poppies”. The way Ibrahim has written her books you do not have to read them in a series but happy that I am. I am completely confident “Golden Poppies” will be just as incredible as ...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. ...more
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. ...more
Dec 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although a tough read sometimes, I loved Yellow Crocus, especially the relationship between Mattie and Lisbeth. In this next book, the reader gets to know what happens next to them and their families. Still a tough read at times, it was good to have them back.
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
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.
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
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
Amanda Bannister
Aug 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 🌟 rounded up to 4
ʚϊɞ Shelley's ʚϊɞ Book Nook

I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, Move from here to there, and it would move.

First reading Yellow Crocus I was drawn immediately in to love the characters of the book. It takes place during the years of slavery and plantation life. When I finished the book I instantly wanted more and I got it. The book Mustard Seeds takes us right where Yellow Crocus left off. The twists and turns this family takes is hear warming and with drama
Lora Milton
This is a sequel to Yellow Crocus. The fact that I read it right away after the first book says something about how captivated I was by the story. Yellow Crocus took place before the American Civil War. This one takes place just after. People who were children or babies in the first book have grown up into young adults. Slaves have been freed, at least in law.

Between the two books, I've learned two things about this period of history that I didn't know before. Originally, slaves were to work a s
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
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.
Charlotte Guzman
A good story line about a family and former slaves after the civil war. The fight of the right thing to do for slave who were free at this time and families involved.
There is a prequel to this story and I didn't read it, so I might have lost some connections with the characters with this one. I did listen to this one on Audible and felt it to be a little flat even though the story was a good one.
Good story but a little flat for me.
Aug 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mustard Seed continues the story of Mattie and Lisbeth, both now living in Oberlin, Ohio with their own families. Unbeknownst to each other, the two families individually travel back to Richmond, Virginia in 1868. Lisbeth is making the long trip in order to visit her father, who is dying. Mattie and her two grown children, Jordan and Samuel, are making this dangerous trip to try to bring Mattie's cousin Sarah back to Ohio with them. Neither group fully comprehends how dangerous Virginia continue ...more
May 15, 2020 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
I liked the first book (Yellow Crocus) for the most part, but this one was just too preachy for me. I think that was the point - the younger generation was learning for themselves and learning from the previous generation about the Civil War and all that each side experienced and did. But it just got really bogged down in moralistic commentary and speechifying from various parties, so I gave up on it.
Jul 11, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I loved Yellow Crocus so was very much looking forward to this book. Unfortunately, I found it bland and predictable. A nice idea but a simple plot of good vs evil with an obvious victor.
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 this 2nd novel!
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
Jun 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of Historical Fiction and anyone who read Yellow Crocus.
Recommended to Dawn by: I read and loved the first book Yellow Crocus
This was a great continuation to Yellow Crocus. It was great to see where Lisbeth and Mattie were in their lives after leaving Virginia. Two strong women who created a life away from the ways of the Confederate South. Going back to Virginia after the Civil War has ended, it was frustrating to read how some people refused to face defeat and change their ways. It was also very sad to read how former slaves were still being treated as if they were owned. Sometimes additional books in a series do no ...more
Jun 28, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

I loved Ms. Ibrahim's first novel,Yellow Crocus, but this book lacked the literary brilliance of that book. I'd still recommend it as it completed the first book and potentially sets us up for yet another sequence. What I loved about the first book was her skillful portrayal of the characters, this book was not as good about developing characters.

The ability to portray the life and injustices of the former slaves is something that did not go unnoticed and it is sure to stir up stro
Lee Yahnker
Apr 02, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A confusing story Of a white family who moved to Ohio when she didn’t agree to marry the man her parents chose for her in Virginia. Meanwhile a black family who knew her in Virginia is in the same Ohio town. The period is right after the Civil War but many of the people in the states were still fighting the war in their minds.

It seems that every thing about this book the author had to make “over the top”for coincidences. My book Club chose this for our April meeting and I want to finish it just
Jul 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
about five years after the Civil War. Our two heroines from the first book, Mattie (colored) and Lizbeth (white) both return to Virginia for family matters. Lizbeth’s dad is dying, and her mother has asked her to return, something she’s always hoped for, to have a reconciliation. Mattie takes her children back to try to talk her niece Sarah into returning to Ohio with them, and leave the plantation where she still works. What both women and their children find is that the war might have been won ...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.
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“We don’ get to pick how big our good gets to be, but each of us picks if we gonna do some right where we are.”
I absolutely love the ‘Yellow Crocus’ series. I can’t wait for the third book to come out in June. Go be a sower of seeds. Let God worry about where they land. 💜
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.. 😩
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Play Book Tag: Mustard Seed, by Laila Ibrahim, 3.5 stars 1 6 Feb 22, 2020 11:09PM  

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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)
  • Yellow Crocus (Freedman/Johnson, #1)
  • Golden Poppies (Freedman/Johnson, #3)

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