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The American Daughters - Book Club Review + Author Zoom

Title: The American Daughters

Author: Maurice Carlos Ruffin

Publisher: One World (Random House)

Genre: Historical Fiction

The American Daughters was our first @bookfriendsbookclub book of the month and I haven’t seen enough of this book making the rounds on #bookstagram You are absolutely missing out!  Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this absolute gem and them engage with the brilliant author @mauriceruffin We had the privilege of meeting with him last night via zoom and to hear his research and love for the city of New Orleans was an honor.

Based on the title and synopsis, you come opening the pages of ‘The American Daughter’ to read about clandestine society of spies, but what you get is so much more.  A coming of age story, one of found family, brilliant characters, and vibrant details and history of the city of New Orleans.  The author is from the city of New Orleans so it just screams from the pages.  He is so very proud of his city.  This story is unique because most we read on history of enslaved people take place on a “slave labor camp also called a plantation” but this one features a city with the movements around it.  Plus it’s shows us many other sides including free Blacks, (mostly Creoles), many enslaved who can read and write, some who are musical, and some who know multiple languages.   

“All this air to roam where we please.  This is just the start.”

Our main character Ady is first introduced to us as a young girl working with her mother in a household in New Orleans.  Her mother is a very wise and teachers Ady to be true to herself and protect her name, stay strong and resilient, and all about her family history where she was first raised on Chitimacha land.  As Ady ages she ends up with a “master” who insists on having her call him “father”.  He educates her and she learns to play the piano too.  She’s left alone a lot to work in his townhouse while he sees to other things.  She often grows lonely, so while she’s out and about running her errands she begins roaming around more and stumbles upon an Inn.  There she meets a special group of women . . . 

“I just want to help.  Everything happens in this city—I feel like I’m watching it all.  I want to do some good.”

And good they do!  On the brinks of War as the Confederates are first forming ‘The Daughters’ do snooping, sabotage and so much more.  These women were smart, sneaky, cunning and clever.  Why do you always hear stories about men?  Because the men get caught!

“For Our Mothers”

I’m so glad Maurice elevated this piece of unheard of history.  It deserves to be told and honored.  So many generations were involved.  I love reading HF and learning untold history, especially about women. 

This is a book I’m going to keep thinking about and stewing and chewing on.  And that’s a good thing!  I highly recommend it.  And I highly recommend this author he is joy.

Purchasing from the link below supports independent bookstores and my site!

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