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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Asquith

River Sing Me Home by Eleanor Shearer Review

Writer: Eleanor Shearer

Publisher: Headline

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publish Date: 19th January 2023

Pages: 384

Reviewed By: Dean Asquith

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Mary Grace, Micah, Thomas Augustus, Cherry Jane and Mercy. 

These are the names of her children. The five who survived, only to be sold to other plantations. The faces Rachel cannot forget. 

It's 1834, and the law says her people are now free. But for Rachel freedom means finding her children, even if the truth is more than she can bear. 

With fear snapping at her heels, Rachel keeps moving. From sunrise to sunset, through the cane fields of Barbados to the forests of British Guiana and on to Trinidad, to the dangerous river and the open sea. 

Only once she knows their stories can she rest. Only then can she finally find home.

Inspired by the women who, in the aftermath of slavery, went in search of their lost children. 

My Opinion

I would be lying if I said I did not look at the cover of ‘River Sing Me Home’ and thought: ‘Oh my! This is exquisite.’ - The size, the shape and the texture, it is uniquely special. Throughout this book, I found myself delicately turning the pages with respect and allowing myself to soak up every single word.

The introduction ... abruptly my emotions ran high. The author Eleanor Shearer allowed us to dive straight into the journey of Rachel... It was delicately brutal.

The way in which this story is written is gentle enough to capture your thoughts and feelings, but it is also very true and hearty to help educate you as you read. I never understood the details of slavery, and to my knowledge slavery in the Caribbean is rarely taught or spoken about. Coming away from this book, I believe it is one of a kind, very strong and empowering. I hope this book of Rachel's journey encourages others to feel as though they can speak freely about an experience that has affected them.

I am deliberately not going into specific details about other characters, because I feel as though Shearer has done an outstanding job of detailing them for you to form your own opinions on them. As this is Rachel’s journey I thought a lot about her as an individual, but I also thought of her as a mother. We met a lot of people on the way, everybody has a part to play. At times characters made me feel warm and invited, but others I was disappointed and angry. The way in which we feel is a personal feeling, so I would be interested to see what others think.

Occasionally I would be close to tears, feeling a pit in my heart, but other moments I couldn’t help but grow a faint smile when a human would restore Rachel’s faith in society. This book is one to hold in a special place in your heart.

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