“Sweetsmoke is a poignant novel that leads you through the life and mind of a black slave and the worries and difficulties he faces as he goes ‘on a mission’ to find the person who murdered his one, true friend.”
Cassius is a slave-carpenter who is owned by the Howard’s of Sweetsmoke plantation. His life, like that of other slaves in the South, is controlled and manipulated by the white owners to help guarantee the continued prosperity of their plantation.
Emoline Justice was also at one time, a slave on the Howard Plantation. She was freed by master Hoke Howard and became a healer and teller of fortunes for the ‘whites’.
When Cassius was punished by the whip as a younger man, he ran away from the plantation and was taken-in for a time by Emoline. She helped him to heal both body and mind. She taught him to read and to believe in living once again. From that time onward, Cassius and Emoline shared a very special bond.
Cassius had a special connection with Hoke Howard, like that of a favoured pet and its owner. Cassius had a certain aura about him that made a mockery out of his attempts to be submissive, as his masters believed their black slaves should be. Many of those subversive personality traits and ideas were most likely learned from the head-strong and determined Emoline.
Emoline had been murdered!
When the news had finally been broken to Cassius, he had nearly dropped to his knees in sorrow, disbelief and fury towards her unknown killer.
WHY would anyone want to kill Emoline?
Cassius made it his personal mission; to hunt down and kill her murderer, one way or another.
Sweetsmoke is an epic book in my opinion. The details, research and time that clearly went into the creation of this book, are absolutely amazing! I was so moved by the storyline and characters. The main character Cassius is so strong and as he moves ever closer to learning the truth about the murder of his dear friend Emoline, he also gravitates toward his own freedom of mind and body.
The descriptions of the other slaves, the plantation, landscapes, the battles and indeed the whole book was so vivid and vibrant that as I read through Sweetsmoke, I felt like I had been transported through time.
I was drawn into the story and could not wait until I found out how it would end. I was very entertained and greatly enjoyed Cassius’s secret thoughts and his subversive ideas and strategies. I was rooting for his triumph in finding Emoline’s killer as I was hoping for his freedom.
I highly recommend this book!!
♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ (9 out of 10 Diamonds) – Loved it!
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*A Special Thank You to Deanna at HarperCollins – The Reading Group (on Facebook): http://www.new.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2345834133