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The Indigo Girl: A Novel

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Based on historical documents, including Eliza’s letters, this is a historical fiction account of how a teenage girl produced indigo dye, which became one of the largest exports out of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.

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Anonymous says:

A sterling example of true historical fiction “The Indigo Girl” is a great example of what I wish all historical fiction could be. Far too often for my patience or taste, I’ll start reading something that makes it clear that the author thought all you needed to do was state the year, slap some period clothes on your paper-doll characters, and make a quick trip to Wikipedia, and there you have historical fiction. You don’t, and the number of stinkers that have appeared in the genre in recent years has practically ruined historical…

Anonymous says:

The Indigo Girl, the overwhelmingly beautiful story of a capable, young colonial woman, by Natasha Boyd. I began this book knowing very little about Eliza Lucas Pinckney and finished it with a new female historical hero. While The Indigo Girl is historical fiction, it is a book that is based on a very real woman who left an indelible legacy in American history. Eliza Lucas took over running her father’s plantations, at the age of sixteen and at a time when it was unheard of–in fact “indecent”–for a young woman to even have such aspirations, and realized that it was necessary for her to…

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