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Friday, July 24, 2015

Book Beginnings: Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule

Book Beginnings on Friday is a meme hosted by Gilion at Rose City Reader. Anyone can participate; just share the opening sentence of your current read, making sure that you include the title and author so others know what you're reading.

Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule by Jennifer Chiaverini

"The slaves froze when they heard the old master shouting from the big house, conversations cut off in midsentence, hands grasping spoons hovering between bowls and hungry mouths."

I get that this sentence is trying to set up for readers how every minute of life is difficult for slaves, but for the whole book, Julia (the daughter of "the old master") talks about how well they treat their slaves. So which is it? Are they all terrified by the sound of his voice--which implies that there are severe consequences of his anger--or are they treated nicely? The author never clears up this discrepancy. I think she wrote this scene just for setting the atmosphere, but it's also hard to believe that slave owners were really nice to their slaves, even if they were well-intentioned. It would have been nice to have more detail on that issue.

3 comments:

Kay said...

I've read all of Jennifer Chiaverini's quilt series (and it's a long one). I have not read any of her standalone novels. I'll admit I've been curious.

Sherrie said...

Hi!
I can agree with you. The author's never tell you is it's a nice place or horrible place for slaves. Have a great day!

Sandra Nachlinger said...

I've read and enjoyed other books by this author (the Elm Creek Quilt series), so I'm sure I'd enjoy this one too. In spite of the discrepancy, it sounds like good historical fiction.
My Friday post features The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty.