Cane River by Lalita Tademy

Set among the plantations in deepest Louisiana, CANE RIVER follows the lives of five generations of women from the time of slavery in the early 1800s into the early years of the 20th century. From down-trodden, philosophical Suzette, who was born and died a slave, to educated, pale-skinned Emily, whose high ambitions born in freedom become her downfall, we are introduced to a remarkable cast of characters whose struggles reflect the tragedy of slavery and, ultimately, the triumph of the spirit. This deeply personal saga - based entirely on the author's research into her own family history - ranks with the best African-American novels and introduces a major new writer.

Black Rock by Amanda Smyth

Celia's mother died bringing her into the world - when one soul flies in, another flies out, her aunt Tassi says. So she lives in Black Rock, Tobago, with her cousins and Tassi's second husband Roman, a man so sly he could crawl under a snake's belly on stilts. Celia thinks he's the devil, so when he does something that proves her right, she runs away to Trinidad and a new life in service.

12 years a slave by Solomon Northup

About the book Born a free man in New York State in 1808, Solomon Northup was kidnapped in Washington, D.C., in 1841. He spent the next 12 years as a slave on a Louisiana cotton plantation, and during this time he was frequently abused and often afraid for his life. This is his detailed description… Continue reading 12 years a slave by Solomon Northup

The last runaway by Tracy Chevalier

About the book When Quaker Honor Bright sails from Bristol with her sister, she is fleeing heartache for a new life in America, far from home. But tragedy leaves her alone and vulnerable, torn between two worlds and dependent on the kindness of strangers, and life in 1850s Ohio is precarious and unsentimental. Review by… Continue reading The last runaway by Tracy Chevalier