Happy Publication Day to Crossing Ebenezer Creek by Tonya Bolden! I’ve been sitting on this review for a while, but I wanted to wait until it was officially released so that anyone who was interested after reading my review could read it right away! It definitely makes my recommendation list, and if you keep reading, you’ll find out why!
Crossing Ebenezer Creek by Tonya Bolden is based on a tragic, true event that took place near the end of the American Civil War, an event that I never knew about (despite spending years in school being taught U.S. history). It begins as the main character, Mariah, and a number of other slaves (including her brother Zeke) flee alongside a group of Union soldiers after they ransack the plantation where she was enslaved. As the story unfolds, Mariah meets Caleb, a free man responsible for driving a wagon for the Union soldiers. Their relationship matches pace with the story, allowing it to develop at a realistic pace amongst the chaos as the troops march south.
This narrative focuses on the plight of the newly freed Blacks, many of which are dealing with both physical and emotional trauma from their past life. Reading the harrowing accounts of abusive treatment suffered by these people, I felt every word Bolden wrote. Bolden’s contrast between the evils of slavery and the boundless hope of freedom seems effortless (but I expect the writing process was anything but). It’s obvious a great amount of effort went into researching and writing this book, and I’d say it paid off as I was hooked from the very beginning.
This is not a story where freedom is the end of the slaves’ worries. Even after being freed, the newly freed Blacks must deal with the hardships of the trek south, fight demons from their past, and deal with people who might be fighting for their freedom but don’t necessarily think they belong on equal footing. And when they reach Ebenezer Creek, a wide tributary roughly 20 miles from Savannah, Georgia…well, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.
Overall, I thought this book was well-written and an interesting read, definitely worth reading if you get the chance! It’s authors like Tonya Bolden and books like Crossing Ebenezer Creek that will help shine a light on events so often kept in the shadows and help knit a divide in our country that is centuries in the making.
4 out of 5 flowers!
***I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book from the book’s publisher via NetGalley. Receiving a free copy of a book in no way affects the honesty of my reviews!