Monday, March 28, 2011

Book Review: All Different Kinds of Free by Jessica McCann

~I recently joined Net Galley, a website that allows bloggers, educators, librarians, etc. access to publishing houses’ unreleased drafts. Members can choose the genre of books they prefer to read and scan titles to request previews. In exchange, you review books that resonant with you.~

So my first request and review was All Different Kinds of Free by: Jessica McCann. Bell Bridge Books is the publishing house.
The novel is set in (1837) pre-Civil war America. It opens in the beautiful and optimistic city of Philadelphia, PA.

The leading lady, Margaret Morgan, is the only living member of her family. Both parents were freed as an act of sympathy. Nevertheless, she and her parents had a close and loving relationship with their former slave masters, in Green Mill, MD.

Margaret, who was born free, married Jerry, a man who had earned and paid his own freedom. After departing her city of birth, Margaret establishes a bustling sewing business in Philly. It was there the Morgans, and their three children settled down to live.

Although not quite equal to their white counterparts, the Morgans experienced a relatively peaceful, pleasant, and fair life in their adopted city. But a national recession and the whims of her parents’ former widowed Mistress shatter their world forever.

All Different Kinds of Free follows Margaret into the soul-wrenching bonds of slavery, subjugation, and the agonizing loss of her family. The author Jessica McCann gives voice to the women and men who were the flesh and blood behind the terms slave, nigger, and stock. The hopelessness of the Morgans plight drives home the reality of our nation’s history.

The well-read Margaret puzzles at the duality of a Mistress that displays Christian charity, but also chides a new Negro mother for “selfishly” wanting to stay behind with her newborn. Or a house-slave who lauds the Master for kindness, after seeing him sell off her eight children one by one.

This novel will stay with you long after the last page has been turned.

My_Iced_Tea gives All Different Kinds of Free by Jessica McCann 4 STARS

Look for it in stores April 2, 2011.