Ooh, this was a good read. If you liked the parallels in The Girl You Left Behind, you might like this one, even though the setting is very different.
“If there is one lesson I wish to bestow upon you, one shred of wisdom I have gained from my living, dying days, it is this: let your heart lead you, do not be afraid, for there will be much to regret if reason and sense and fear are your only markers.”
In Virginia, in 1852, seventeen year old Josephine Bell (named for the family that keeps her as a slave) has made up her mind to run from her cruel master and his dying wife. Her only spot of sunshine in this place had been her opportunities to paint with the mistress, and now those are fading away. 150 years later, in New York, first year law associate Lina Sparrow has been given a new task: find the ancestors of known slaves to represent the plaintiffs in a new case for reparations again the government and various corporations. As Lina researches a possible ancestor, she stumbles across Josephine’s story and becomes fascinated with it.
The two perspectives flip back and forth, with Josephine’s covering only a day or so, while Lina’s spans several weeks. It gives Josephine’s story a real urgency, and made me eager to return to her. Lina has a looser timeline, with more distractions — including a whole subplot about her mother that I really had little to no interest in. But I loved the rest of the book, and couldn’t put it down because I wanted so badly to find out what happened to Josephine.