‘Property,’ by Valerie Martin

Novel, 2003

A compelling, well-written book, taking an interesting view of the slave trade and its effects on individuals. This is a book about the experiences of a sugar plantation’s mistress, trapped in a loveless marriage, and the relationship she has with the slaves, and particularly with Sarah, with whom her husband has an illegitimate child. This book is bold in taking this perspective, particularly in the representation of the main character, Manon. The placing of normal people in horrific situations and circumstances which are normalised give a whole new spin and view on the slave trade and Louisiana in the early nineteenth century. For that alone, this is a good read, made even more engaging through the drama and plot.

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