Audiobook Review: The Indigo Girl by Natasha Boyd

Published October 3rd 2017 by Blackstone Audiobooks
Narrated By Saskia Maarleveld
10 hrs and 32 mins

An incredible story of dangerous and hidden friendships, ambition, betrayal, and sacrifice.

The year is 1739. Eliza Lucas is sixteen years old when her father leaves her in charge of their family's three plantations in rural South Carolina and then proceeds to bleed the estates dry in pursuit of his military ambitions. Tensions with the British, and with the Spanish in Florida, just a short way down the coast, are rising, and slaves are starting to become restless. Her mother wants nothing more than for their South Carolina endeavor to fail so they can go back to England. Soon her family is in danger of losing everything.

Upon hearing how much the French pay for indigo dye, Eliza believes it's the key to their salvation. But everyone tells her it's impossible, and no one will share the secret to making it. Thwarted at nearly every turn, even by her own family, Eliza finds that her only allies are an aging horticulturalist, an older and married gentleman lawyer, and a slave with whom she strikes a dangerous deal: teach her the intricate thousand-year-old secret process of making indigo dye and in return -- against the laws of the day -- she will teach the slaves to read.

So begins an incredible story of love, dangerous and hidden friendships, ambition, betrayal, and sacrifice.

Based on historical documents, including Eliza's letters, this is a historical fiction account of how a teenage girl produced indigo dye, which became one of the largest exports out of South Carolina, an export that laid the foundation for the incredible wealth of several Southern families who still live on today. Although largely overlooked by historians, the accomplishments of Eliza Lucas influenced the course of US history. When she passed away in 1793, President George Washington served as a pallbearer at her funeral.

This book is set between 1739 and 1744, with romance, intrigue, forbidden friendships, and political and financial threats weaving together to form the story of a remarkable young woman whose actions were before their time: the story of the indigo girl.

My Thoughts

Elizabeth (Eliza) Lucas was a woman far ahead of her time. At the tender age of 16, she was left to manage three of her father's plantations while military duties kept him away. Eliza had a keen mind and became one of the leading agriculturists of the 18th century. When people (men) were telling her she couldn't grow indigo. She said, "Watch me." After a rocky start, Indigo became one of the most successfully farmed plants, second only to rice.

Natasha Boyd writes a remarkable story of one of history's most amazing women. You can tell Boyd has a passion and love that she weaves in between the words of Eliza's story. She paints a vivid picture of the era breathing life into each character. Excerpts from Eliza's diaries are also used, and they fit in so seamlessly with the fiction, it's as if the real Eliza has written this story and not Boyd.

The book takes place between 1739 and 1744, during which Eliza has thrown off the constraints of her time and lives her dream of Indigo. The story if full of heartache, friendships, perseverance, intrigue, and so much more. The Indigo Girl is one of the best historical fiction books of 2017.

I listened to The Indigo Girl on CD narrated by Saskia Maarleveld. It was brilliant! Saskia Maarleveld is a seasoned narrator and if you've listened to her narrate it's easy to see why she's in demand. Her voice was made to read stories. She gives a voice to each character making them stand out. I was so enraptured in the story, the minutes flew by. An hour would pass and I hardly noticed. I absolutely recommend this on audio.