Friday, December 23, 2016
The Life and Times of Persimmon Wilson by Nancy Peacock
This is a story of a slave who loved a woman more than he should have. He met her while he was being sold. They were both sold to the same man and they were both attracted to each other. But the master had taken a fancy to her also and he held the position of power...
Atria Books shared an ARC with me of this book for review (thank you). It will be published January 3rd.
The life of a slave is not a nice story. Especially not when you have a sadistic master. Persimmon is determined to help Chloe escape the master. He can't figure out how but he wants to protect her. He'd like to have her as his wife but that doesn't mean anything in the slave world. Families are separated all the time there. When he gets caught eating some chicken and loving Chloe, he gets fifty lashes with the whip. It takes him a while to heal but he's no less resolute about helping her.
When the war gets closer to them, the master moves them to Texas. He takes all that stay and lets those who ran to be with family go. Before they get out away from the harbor, he kills one cook who was too afraid to get on the boat. He just shoots her down. Then Chloe sits close to Persimmon and the master demands Persimmon come over to where he is. He shoots him in the shoulder and Persimmon falls over the side. He can't swim. The master shows Chloe that he's drowning and the boat leaves. Persimmon lives. And now he has a new goal. But Texas is a big, big state.
I think this is an accurate account of what could have happened to the slaves involved. It's not pleasant to read. Persimmon ends up losing anyone he loved. The men he went to Texas with, his children, his dignity and more. He lives with Indians for a while. He kills the master. But as he writes this story, he's sitting in a jail cell waiting to be hanged.
If you want to learn how ugly the slaves were treated and how one man can lose his soul trying to find his love, this book will do that. It just made me feel sad.