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Updated: Apr 30, 2021

Title: Libertie

Author: Kaitlyn Greenidge

Publisher: Algonquin Books

(of Chapel Hill)

Genre: Historical Fiction

April Book of the Month

“The only good poem I’ve ever written is you. A daughter is a poem. A daughter is a kind of psalm. You, in the world, responding to me, is the song I made. I cannot make another.”

Libertie is an interesting look at a mother daughter relationship, medicine, race, freedom and equalities between man and wife in the late 1800s.

Libertie’s mother has a vision for her to go to medical school, so they can practice side by side as mother and daughter. But, that is not Libertie’s dream. Libertie is much more in tune to people emotionally then medicine and science. She is also regularly reminded of her place in society as a dark skinned Black women, unlike her mother who can nearly pass as white.

When a man from Haiti, proposes to Libertie and promises she will be his equal on the island, she accepts, but things aren’t what she was led to believe. Libertie struggles with what freedom actually might mean for herself and generations to come.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Unfortunately this book didn’t quite work for me. It started off very strong and I was invested and interested in the medicine and mother/daughter relationship. However, it quickly faded and drug on for me. This one almost felt like 2-3 stories in one. I feel like if the author would have narrowed down her topics it would have been much better. My other criticism is mostly for the publisher/editor . . . I don’t feel like the synopsis really does a great job preparing the reader for what this book is about. Also why does it mention music!? There is no music!!! Despite my lukewarm feelings about this book my book club had an amazing discussion and that more than made up for things!

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