In Laura Fish's ambitious and captivating novel, three very different women struggle for freedom. While Elizabeth Barrett Browning is confined to bed, chafing against the restriction of her doctors and writing poetry and fretful letters, at her family's Jamaican estate Kaydia, the Creole housekeeper, tries to protect her daughter from their predatory master; and a recently freed black slave, Sheba, mourns the loss of her lover.
As Elizabeth, a passionate abolitionist, struggles to come to terms with the source of her wealth and privilege both Sheba and Kydia fight to escape a tragic past which seems ever-present. The resulting novel is an extraordinary evocation of the dark side of the nineteenth-century that is both horrifying and ultimately redeeming.
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Fish moves among the characters' voices - formal and Victorian for Elizabeth, stream-of-consciousness pidgin for Kaydia and Sheba - with consummate ease, and the narrative grips like mystery thriller.Jul 04 2009 | Read Full Review of Strange Music