The Indigo Girl by Natasha Boyd

The Indigo Girl

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 Flor...

Title:The Indigo Girl
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Edition Language:English

The Indigo Girl Reviews

  • Angela M

    4+ stars

    If I didn't know that this was based on a true story, a real person in our history, I would have found it to be pretty unrealistic that in the 1730's, a British man would leave his sixteen year old daughter in charge of his plantations when he leaves South Carolina for Antigua to further his military career. There are several things that I really liked about this book. While this is a fictionalized account of the life of Eliza Lucas, it not only appears to be well researched, but excerpt

    4+ stars

    If I didn't know that this was based on a true story, a real person in our history, I would have found it to be pretty unrealistic that in the 1730's, a British man would leave his sixteen year old daughter in charge of his plantations when he leaves South Carolina for Antigua to further his military career. There are several things that I really liked about this book. While this is a fictionalized account of the life of Eliza Lucas, it not only appears to be well researched, but excerpts of letters written by Eliza Lucas are interspersed throughout. Eliza Lucas was a determined, smart and tough woman who was in many ways, a woman ahead of her times. How heartening to know that in spite of the societal demands of the times, that there were women who were bold enough to do things considered to be only in the realm of men. She is remembered for bringing to SC the indigo crop that changed its economy.

    The author in her notes tells which characters are based on real people and which are imagined. I always love to hear what the creative spark was that prompts an author to write a particular story. In this case, Natasha Rosenfeldt Boyd was attending an indigo exhibit in South Carolina and overheard a conversation between the gallery owner and one of Eliza's descendants. "I caught snippets of a story that would light a fire in me. It was a story about a sixteen-year-old girl who ran her father's plantations in her father's name. "This girl," the unknown person said next to me, unaware of my eavesdropping, " made a deal with her slaves : she would teach them to read, and in return they would teach her the secrets of making indigo." And thus the spark for this novel and the story of this young woman whose story is inspiring and relevant even today.

    I received an advanced copy of this book from Blackstone Publishing through NetGalley.

  • Fran

    Sixteen year old Eliza Lucas has acquired an unexpected vocation. Living in South Carolina in the 18th Century, she must oversee the running of the Lucas family plantations including three tracts of land. Each plantation is run by a manager who oversees slaves as they work to plant and harvest crops in order to turn a profit. Eliza's father, nicknamed Big Lucas, has returned to Antigua, the family's original domicile, in order to advance his military career. Debt has accrued in his military vent

    Sixteen year old Eliza Lucas has acquired an unexpected vocation. Living in South Carolina in the 18th Century, she must oversee the running of the Lucas family plantations including three tracts of land. Each plantation is run by a manager who oversees slaves as they work to plant and harvest crops in order to turn a profit. Eliza's father, nicknamed Big Lucas, has returned to Antigua, the family's original domicile, in order to advance his military career. Debt has accrued in his military venture and only successful crop production will keep the family afloat in South Carolina..

    Eliza is no stranger to the running of the family enterprise. She has routinely assisted Big Lucas in recording family transactions. She is not the child of choice for this operation, however, her two brothers are away at school. The plan is for Eliza to keep the business solvent until her elder brother George can assume the reins. Eliza does not believe in convention, she believes in individual freedom. Women should not be chattel to be married off to unburden the family. Eliza will not settle for being a figurehead for the plantation...but...how will she be successful? Two of her plantations are heavily mortgaged to support her father's military aspirations.

    Eliza is determined to grow indigo. Indigo is a weed that has been grown with limited success in Antigua. Perhaps it can grow in South Carolina soil. She enlists the help of neighbor and botanist Mr. Deveaux and family friend, lawyer Charles Pinckney, as well as trusted slaves Quash, Togo, and Sawney. Indigo is difficult to produce. Success is unlikely. Frost can destroy indigo seeds. Indigo stalks must be cut at the exact hour of their potency and before they flower. She is embarking upon an uphill battle.

    Eliza Lucas is a teenager ahead of her time. While her mother worries about making a good match for her daughter, Eliza wants a husband who will treat her as an equal. She believes in compassion. Her slaves live in cabins free from draft, a dwelling has been built to serve as a schoolhouse and she has taught Quash and others to read. Her kindness has won her respect. There are those, however, who do not want Eliza to succeed and will thwart her efforts on a continual basis.

    "The Indigo Girl" by Natasha Boyd is a remarkable historical account of a girl's determination to introduce indigo as a staple crop in South Carolina. Kudos to Natasha Boyd for creating Eliza's journey.

    Thank you Blackstone Publishing and Net Galley for the opportunity to read and review "The Indigo Girl"

  • Christie«SHBBblogger»

    The Indigo Girl

    Standalone

    Natasha Boyd

    October 3, 2017

    No

    Lately, I've been searching for books that are outside the contemporary romance sphere. Has it been because I've read the same thing too many times, or are original plots about unique characters genuinely becoming more scarce? I can't say. Here's one thing I can say with certainty:

    The Indigo Girl is special and it deserves to be voraciously devoured and ap

    The Indigo Girl

    Standalone

    Natasha Boyd

    October 3, 2017

    No

    Lately, I've been searching for books that are outside the contemporary romance sphere. Has it been because I've read the same thing too many times, or are original plots about unique characters genuinely becoming more scarce? I can't say. Here's one thing I can say with certainty:

    The Indigo Girl is special and it deserves to be voraciously devoured and appreciated by readers. Those who are hungry for a story that will move them and linger in their minds. You WILL soak this story up like a sponge, passionately shouting your enthusiasm to anyone who will listen.

    Like me, it's very likely you'll say to yourself, "How did I not know about this incredible woman?" She was so revered and respected that our first president publicly acknowledged and honored her contributions to the country. In colonial America, women were quite literally dismissed as silly and inferior as the general rule. Yes, gender inequality is alive and well today. But there's no comparison to how women's choices were taken away and their lives completely controlled in Eliza Lucas' time. The enormity of what she accomplished is immeasurable. Especially when you consider that this was a teenage girl who shattered the limitations placed around her by society.

    Eliza grew up in the Caribbean island of Antigua, and moved to South Carolina with her affluent family as a young girl. With racial and political tensions rising, moving off the island was a move considered for everyone's safety. She and her father developed a close relationship as she matured, one that grew out of respect and love. He unconventionally fostered her fascination with botany and her interest in the management of the numerous plantations they owned.

    Encouraging interests outside of finding a husband was virtually unheard of in those days. However, as the oldest sibling of four, she was depended on to help as her younger brothers obtained their education in England. When her father leaves to report to the British Army, his desire to rise in the ranks of the military lead him to entrust their plantations in Eliza's capable care. Much to his wife and many neighbors' dismay.

    Unbeknownst to Eliza, her family's livelihood was quickly deteriorating due to her father hemorrhaging money towards his military ambition. She soon realized that with their homes heavily mortgaged, they were barely scraping by and paying the bills. One wrong move, and the whole house of cards would come tumbling down.

    Her solution was diversifying into the extremely profitable, but mysterious indigo plant. Everyone knew that the dye extracted from indigo was highly sought after and desired. The challenge wasn't just finding someone willing to share the delicate process of accurately producing it. There were few that had faith that a slip of a girl could succeed where so many men before her had failed. But she didn't let that stop her, because she had nothing to lose. With the faithful help of her neighbor, Mr. Pinckney, she set out to prove everyone wrong.

    Intertwined with Eliza's urgent struggle to prove her worth and bridge an independent life for herself, is a heartrending story about forbidden friendship. Ignorance and hatred separated two children whose bond could never have been accepted. The boy she knew in Antigua had been sold, but never forgotten. And his reappearance in her life had an immense emotional impact on her.

    This book made me feel so much, and not all of it was comfortable. Boyd doesn't shy away from depicting the horrors and injustice of slavery. It was enough to make your chest ache and your throat clog, thinking of the silent suffering that was endured. Eliza's mother enraged me on so many occasions. She had absolutely no sense of her daughter's strength and courage, often belittling her, or intentionally preventing her from succeeding. Her ambition for her daughter began and ended with marrying her off, while her brilliant and progressive mind was stifled.

    Treachery, betrayal, and tragedy pave the path to Eliza's dreams. Told in Natasha Boyd's beautifully descriptive narrative,

    captivated me, inspired me, and transported me to a volatile time filled with terrible despair and fragile hope. Eliza Lucas dared to reach for the impossible and changed the course of history. Even if you're not typically a reader of historical fiction, I believe you should give this powerful book a chance. It's been almost a week since I finished reading it, and my mind is still drifting back to Eliza's remarkable story. It's one I can easily say that I won't soon be forgetting.

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  • Karen

    I received this ARC from netgalley.com in exchange for a review.

    At the age of 16, Eliza Lucas is tasked by her father to oversee three plantations while he returns to Antigua to pursue his military and political careers. After many failures and set backs, Eliza succeeds in growing an Indigo crop. What Eliza accomplished changed American history.

    This is a great book, the writing was easy to read and the story was very interesting. I really liked reading portions of Eliza's personal corresponden

    I received this ARC from netgalley.com in exchange for a review.

    At the age of 16, Eliza Lucas is tasked by her father to oversee three plantations while he returns to Antigua to pursue his military and political careers. After many failures and set backs, Eliza succeeds in growing an Indigo crop. What Eliza accomplished changed American history.

    This is a great book, the writing was easy to read and the story was very interesting. I really liked reading portions of Eliza's personal correspondence. I definitely recommend this to anyone who like strong and inventive women in a historical setting.

    4☆

  • Kindling Micky

    2.5-3 stars

    I am a fan of historical fiction and Natasha Boyd but I’m afraid this book didn’t thrill me in the way I was hoping it would. I will keep this fairly short but also aim to explain my thoughts and feelings. This is not romance, I would consider this straight historical fiction which might confuse other Natasha Boyd fans as she is known for successful contemporary romance. This wasn’t a problem for me per se, but there were two different strands of suggestion of romance and both of thes

    2.5-3 stars

    I am a fan of historical fiction and Natasha Boyd but I’m afraid this book didn’t thrill me in the way I was hoping it would. I will keep this fairly short but also aim to explain my thoughts and feelings. This is not romance, I would consider this straight historical fiction which might confuse other Natasha Boyd fans as she is known for successful contemporary romance. This wasn’t a problem for me per se, but there were two different strands of suggestion of romance and both of these storylines lacked depth and execution for my taste.

    The story of a strong young woman coming of age with huge responsibility was an interesting concept and I wanted to be engaged but a slow start made investment difficult. I felt more pulled in at 25% and I found Eliza’s botanical endeavours initially interesting but eventually less so in the long run. The stories of the slaves were my favourite thing about this book. On the whole, I wanted more excitement in terms of storyline and a little more in character development.

    Whilst this book wasn’t eventually what I expected or wanted, I’m sure some will enjoy this tale, the setting and colours it conjures. THE INDIGO GIRL excels in description and painting the landscape. I remain a fan of Natasha Boyd and just wish my review could have been more favourable.

    A copy of this book was provided by the publisher through netgalley, in return for a honest review.

    Reviewed for Jo&IsaLoveBooks Blog.

  • FMABookReviews

    Have you ever read a book out of your normal comfort zone? Like one that isn't remotely what you would normally read but you ended up LOVING IT all the same???

    Have you ever read a book out of your normal comfort zone? Like one that isn't remotely what you would normally read but you ended up LOVING IT all the same???

    'The Indigo Girl' by Author Natasha Boyd was PHENOMENAL! There was so much passion within the pages of this book that my heart ached! ACHED!

    This is not a typical romance, so don't go into this book expecting that. But 'The Indigo Girl' was filled with passion; passion for life, for love and humanity. It was a story filled with guarded intimacy, and forbidden love, a story that reminds you what it is to be human! And this piece of fiction is BASED ON A TRUE STORY!!! It was incredibly inspiring.

    Based on true life, 'The Indigo Girl' tells the story of Eliza Pickney. At 16, her father leaves her in charge of his plantations in the Carolinas. Her two brothers (the rightful heirs at that time) were away at school in England. So when her father had to return to Antigua, it was just Eliza, her mother, and younger sister. The family needed a Hail Mary to survive while her father was gone. They could not sustain all of the plantations they owned and her father's commission. It was up to 16-year-old Eliza to find a way to financially sustain her family.

    Indigo.

    One day while touring one of her families plantations, Eliza sees clothing on the women that reminds her of the Indigo her beloved Ben used to make. Having grown to love horticulture, she wondered if she could grow Indigo, there, in South Carolina. And if she could, would this be what saved her family?

    Not having seen her friend in many years, Eliza petitions her father to send Ben to teach her how to grow Indigo. Her father denies her request. Both for Eliza's reputation and the safety of her friend. Ben is the first friend Eliza made as a young girl and grew to be her best friend. He was also a slave. So Eliza presses on, she studies and asks questions. She befriends people and slaves who have experience growing seeds similar to Indigo as well as those who have knowledge of Indigo.

    Eliza was put in a precarious position. On the one hand, her father left her in charge of plantations and slaves. Her father wanted her to save the family of financial ruin or at the very least, keep the family afloat until her brother came of age and could take over in her father's place.

    On the other, her mother was dead set on marrying her off. Women weren't celebrated for their knowledge, this was a time when women didn't have power or a voice. Her mother didn't understand Eliza's exuberance, her independence, nor her strong sense of self. Eliza wanted to work. She was strong willed and had opinions. As a 16-year-old female, men were more interested in patting her on the head or dismissing her entirely than they were with accepting that she might be intelligent enough to make good decisions. Her value and worth were only what she could bring to a marriage and how she could provide for her husband.

    I so admire Eliza Pickney. She had a strong sense of right and wrong. Her fortitude was admirable. She was strong before her time. Had she been born today, she would have been celebrated for her ideas and her intelligence.

    This story evoked a myriad of emotions in me. I cried from sadness and I cried from anger. But I also gained a sense of appreciation for how far our gender has come!

    I first read this author when she penned 'Eversea', and the follow-up book, 'Forever, Jack'. I liked those well enough. But 'The Indigo Girl' was a superb! I am so happy that Natasha Boyd felt compelled to tell the story of such an amazing woman. While parts may be fiction, it is clear that Ms. Boyd did her research.

    Phenomenal! Exquisite! Passionate! I didn't want it to end!

  • Marialyce

    *****5 fantastic reading stars*****

    *I received this ARC from Blackstone Publishing and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

    Eliza Lucas is just sixteen years old when her father leaves her in charge of their plantations in rural South Carolina. The year was 1730 when there were both Indian and slave uprisings. Her father returns to Antigua and has great military ambitions also wishing to become the governor of Antigua. He mortgages these plantations, unbeknownst to Eliza, because he is in

    *****5 fantastic reading stars*****

    *I received this ARC from Blackstone Publishing and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

    Eliza Lucas is just sixteen years old when her father leaves her in charge of their plantations in rural South Carolina. The year was 1730 when there were both Indian and slave uprisings. Her father returns to Antigua and has great military ambitions also wishing to become the governor of Antigua. He mortgages these plantations, unbeknownst to Eliza, because he is in need of money. Eliza, a strong willed brilliant daughter, resolves to make the plantation she and her family reside on, a success. The way she decides to do so is in the production of indigo. Her mother wishes for her to fail so that the family can return to England so she offers little to no support and actually thwarts Eliza's efforts.

    Eliza, a botanist at heart, is helped by a neighbor botanist, a gentlemen lawyer, and her slaves who knew the secret of indigo extraction. They strive to make a go of it. Eliza is the epitome of courage and determination. She will get what she wants and entices the slaves to share their indigo secrets by promising to teach them how to read, something that was against the law. She forms hidden attachments to her slaves, spurns those who are against her, and sacrifices everything to make this dream of hers come true. Along the way Eliza is met with many adversities but through the support of a man who she will eventually marry and her slaves who she treats with fairness and concern, she succeeds. Her indomitable spirit at such a young age makes her a woman of that fosters admiration, strength, and resilience.

    This novel is based on letters from Eliza and other historical documents. Through Eliza, her eventual husband, and the slaves, she is able to lay the foundation for the indigo industry that will eventually become one of the largest exports from South Carolina. It was quite an incredible book to read and enjoy as this little known figure in history came alive in this novel. Incredibly interesting is that no one really has heard of her exploits as she played a major role in the route that US history eventually took. Mentioned in the author's notes was that President George Washington was a pall bearer at her funeral.

    Eliza was a independent woman hundreds of years before that came into vogue. Her achievements, given that it was 1730's and was a woman need to be both admired and made know so that all women know that no matter what constraints that are placed upon them, having the will and the determination to succeed they will eventually do just that.

  • Irene Sim

    IT'S LIVE TODAY!!!!

    I can't believe I was granted an arc for Natasha Boyd's new novel. She is one of my favorite authors! (Happy dancing)

    For Readathon-2017: 36/52

    In the category: "A book in which the protagonist is a historical person"

    4,5 stars!

    I thoroughly enjoyed this story! Natasha Boyd’s magical pen has worked miracles again and in a brand new gender for her. She managed to merge historica

    IT'S LIVE TODAY!!!!

    I can't believe I was granted an arc for Natasha Boyd's new novel. She is one of my favorite authors! (Happy dancing)

    For Readathon-2017: 36/52

    In the category: "A book in which the protagonist is a historical person"

    4,5 stars!

    I thoroughly enjoyed this story! Natasha Boyd’s magical pen has worked miracles again and in a brand new gender for her. She managed to merge historical facts and people into a fascinating tale that kept me transfixed till the last page.

    And I say woman because even if she’s only 16 years old she is mature in mind and spirit beyond her age. A twist of fate has Eliza, instead of marrying off to some featherheaded nobleman to appease her mother, stepping in her father’s position as head manager of his estates in South Carolina, at least until her younger brother becomes of age to assume responsibility.

    Eliza is no stranger to the estate’s affairs, her father’s been training her for many years and she’s been acting as his aid keeping his correspondence and accounting books.

    It’s unfathomable the burden that is laid upon her young shoulders. Not only she has to make profitable decisions about crops, sales etc, she also has to discourse with managers, bankers, sales-persons and manage the slaves, all in her father’s name because she is a woman and her gender induces no respect.

    Her courage is inspiring, her determination admirable. With her kind heart, fairness and ambition she manages to overcome all obstacles and win over respect from her slaves to her most strict competitors.

    There were times in the story that I totally hated her mother. Not only she is incapable to provide the smallest amount of help in managing the household, she keeps sabotaging Eliza’s attempts. But then, she’s the typical woman of her age and can’t help herself from being small-minded and socially confined.

    I have to cut half a star from my rating because I was annoyed by the evolution in the relationship between Eliza and Ben.

    I have to say that the whole romance aspect of the book was unsatisfying for my tastes but the rest of the story is so powerful that I find this lack insignificant.

    The reading experience is enhanced by the interval addition of original letters from the real Eliza Lucas sent to her father in Antigua and her nanny in England that shows her hopes, aspirations and frustrations and are in total harmony with the person’s character presented by Natasha Boyd.

    An excellent attempt at historical fiction! I would recommend it to EVERYONE who loves the gender.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Deanne Patterson

    A book has not truly touched my soul like this one has in a LONG time! Even though this book has 346 pages in it's hardcover edition it felt like a much shorter read because it was just that good! It was not a book that you say to yourself, geeze I have to slog through this to finish it. It kept me captivated throughout the whole book! It was so fascinating learning about the flower Indigo. It explained the while process from planting the seeds through harvesting the plant through the dyeing pro

    A book has not truly touched my soul like this one has in a LONG time! Even though this book has 346 pages in it's hardcover edition it felt like a much shorter read because it was just that good! It was not a book that you say to yourself, geeze I have to slog through this to finish it. It kept me captivated throughout the whole book! It was so fascinating learning about the flower Indigo. It explained the while process from planting the seeds through harvesting the plant through the dyeing process of cloth and how you prepare the dye. I had heard of the color indigo and knew the color came from a plant but never knew it was an actual flower grown in South Carolina. At times I just wanted to scream at the injustice of things I had read and I actually had to take a short break from reading at the unfairness of things that had made me sad. The story contained within is based on a true events and historical documents. Brilliantly fascinating. I will be looking for more books by this new to me author,Natasha Boyd.

    Pub Date 03 Oct 2017

    Thank you to NetGalley and Blackstone Publishing for a review copy in exchange for my honest review.

  • Cheri

    !! NOW AVAILABLE !!

    Thus begins Natasha Boyd’s

    This is a story of conspiracy and deception, love and rom

    !! NOW AVAILABLE !!

    Thus begins Natasha Boyd’s

    This is a story of conspiracy and deception, love and romance, ambition and sacrifice, secret alliances and betrayal, of intimidation and trust. Trust given and trust earned. A story of free men and slaves, of a young women who dared to insist on her right to choose to marry, or not, who dared to assert herself as a woman as competent as the men who tried to intimidate her. A woman who dared to choose her path in life in Colonial-era South Carolina. Eliza Lucas was a woman who dared to be kind to her childhood friend from Antigua; a friend who returns to her life as a slave owned by the man her father has sent to teach her the ways of growing indigo and turning it into dye.

    This would be a wonderful historical, fictional, story, a story that would inspire many, but what makes this an exceptionally moving and inspirational story is that Eliza Lucas lived and breathed, was a real woman who became known as the woman who changed agriculture in South Carolina. The Indigo Girl.

    In the South Carolina of old, young sixteen-year-old Eliza Lucas is left in charge of her family’s plantations, her father has left in order to further enhance his position with the military, and has returned to Antigua, leaving Eliza, her mother and her younger sister there. It hasn’t been that long since he brought his wife and daughter to this plot of land seventeen miles outside of Charles Town, six by water originally purchased by her father’s father. Her two brothers are attending school in England, but in a few years, her brother George will be able to take over for her.

    Eliza has had a formal education in a finishing school in England when she was younger, but she was encouraged from a young age to seek out more knowledge, to read, to follow her inquisitive nature. One of her interests was botany.

    She has plans, which include a grove of oak trees with an eye to future ships needing the wood, but she is drawn to the indigo plant. She remembers the clothing she saw back in Antigua, and when she sees two women wearing skirts of that same rich blue when in town, she decides to look into growing indigo. A plant notoriously difficult to grow in South Carolina, subject to many failures in growing and many more failures in the process of being turned into dye.

    Based on an immense amount of research including many historical documents and Eliza Lucas’ own letters—excerpts of some are included in this story—this is the story of a woman who was so highly regarded that, upon her death, George Washington requested to serve as a pallbearer at her funeral. In 1976, a marker commemorating the location where Eliza Lucas planted indigo seeds in 1741 was erected.

    Pub Date: 03 Oct 2017

    Many thanks for the ARC provided by Blackstone Publishing

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