Tuesday, February 21, 2012

On Abolition: A Review of Indigo by Beverley Jenkins

Originally published in 1998, Indigo only entered my personal reading radar this past month when it was selected as February's book club pick on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. Just as I've been whining about there not being enough diversity in my historical romance, this falls into my lap.

In short, this book is about Hester, a woman who spent her childhood as a slave and, now a free woman, dedicates a large part of her life to helping with the Underground Railroad in during the pre-Civil War turmoil. When Galen, aka the Black Daniel, a most honored member of the Underground Railroad, arrives on her doorstep gravely injured and in need of care, Hester considers it her duty to hide him in her cellar. She is not, however, prepared for the strong attraction she has to her charge. Galen is in turn captivated by Hester, and ultimately uses all of his wealth and influence to seduce the woman he's begun to care for.

Positive Comments

A black couple, in pre-Civil War United States, in an honest to God romance novel? So awesome, and definitely a first for me. Maybe there are more books like this out there, and I just need to get off my lazy ass and find them. Or maybe my suspicions are true, and the market is currently flooded with wealthy dukes and proper English ladies. Either way, I deeply enjoyed reading something in such a unique, tumultuous era, from the perspective of character's who's lives are both different from my own, and different from what I would have expected.

Hester is a brave and vibrant female lead. I enjoyed learning about her painful childhood, all of the hard work it took to overcome it, and the motivations that lead her to take part in the railroad. She has insecurities and uncertainties that I felt were both very real and very easy to relate to.

Galen felt a little on the wish fulfillment side of heroes to me. He's handsome, daring, honorable, and disgustingly rich. His faults are mainly stubbornness and irritability while injured. Otherwise, he's basically perfect. And while that makes him less well developed, and I could name that as a fault, I can't deny that he was the perfect male lead for a feel good, escapist romance novel.

Critical Comments

The author takes a lot of time to set up conflicts that are knocked down with great ease. For example, there's a great deal of concern for Hester that she won't fit in with Galen's social circle, since he is from a wealthier and higher class family. But, upon being faced with them, both she and Galen find that they don't care that much and the entire thing is shrugged off. Pretty much all of the conflicts in this book are like that--glazed over, and fixed before you know it.


You definitely have to like romance novels to like this book, as it's filled with sexy, sappy relationship building. That said, if you are in the least bit inclined toward historical romance, I would certainly recommend this one. It was a page turner and a feel good book for me. 4 stars.


  1. It's always good to find something different in a genre that seems to be filled with a lot of the same thing.

    I am currently reading my first ever historical romance so I am just starting to get a feel for the genre myself. I am enjoying it a lot though :)

    1. Oh wow, your first? That's so exciting! What are you reading?

  2. Very, very interesting! I'm not a fan of Regency romances, but I've always had a soft spot for historical fiction. The Civil War has fascinated me ever since a roadtrip my family took when I was 12. Will definitely have to see if I can find a copy of Indigo at my library.


Thoughtful comments are appreciated! I always respond to them, and I usually return the favor! Happy reading!

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