River Sing Me Home

Books on Tape. Jan. 2023. 10:36 hrs. ISBN 9780593675281. $85.50. F
Shearer’s propulsive debut begins in Barbados, just as slavery was outlawed in the British colonies in 1834. Rather than gaining true freedom, however, enslaved people immediately became “apprentices” and were required to work in the same conditions for six additional years. Rachel has been a field hand all of her life and watched helplessly as her children were taken from her to be sold. Unwilling to endure more, she runs away, intent on discovering what happened to her children. Her quest takes her to Bridgetown, where she finds her daughter Mary Grace, and then to Demerara in British Guiana and Trinidad. Overcoming fear and hardship, she pursues her lost children, finding love, loss, and a place to begin anew. Narrator Debra Michaels employs a Caribbean lilt to convey Shearer’s story, which is filled with pieces of her own family history. Michaels emotionally portrays the struggles of enslaved people searching for their children and recognizing that freedom comes in many forms.
VERDICT Highly recommended, particularly for listeners interested in postcolonial Caribbean history, the enduring ties of family, and the aftermath of slavery.
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