The author of We Love You, Charlie Freeman returns with a coming of age story, tracing the travails of a free-born Black girl raised in Reconstruction-era Brooklyn. Libertie Sampson defies her doctor mother's stifling dreams that her daughter will follow in her footsteps, instead following her fiancee to his home country of Haiti—where Libertie escapes American-style racism but not the misogyny that leaves her subordinate to all men.
Few novels have as strong a sense of place as this fascinating blend of magical realism and African American historical fiction ... Greenidge succeeds beautifully at presenting the complexities of an intense mother-daughter bond, with its blend of unrealistic expectations, disappointments, and betrayals. At the same time, the historical context of traumatized escaped enslaved people, race riots, colorism, and conflicting visions on how to achieve Black freedom (stay in the U.S. and fight or build an all-Black civilization abroad?) weaves the story of one family into the larger tragedy of the African diaspora. Greenidge creates a richly layered tapestry of Black communal life, notably Black female life, and the inevitable contradictions and compromises of 'freedom.'
... Greenidge's second novel...is a richly detailed and well-researched work of historical fiction. Centering her narrative on the lives of Black women, she explores issues of racism, colorism and misogyny in lyrical and lovely prose.
Greenidge...delivers another genius work of radical historical fiction ... poetic narration ... This pièce de résistance is so immaculately orchestrated that each character, each setting, and each sentence sings.