A forbidden relationship. A love affair forged in secrecy. A couple facing betrayal at every turn...Read an extract
BBC Radio 2 Book Club choice
The Times Best Books for October
Stylist magazine Best New Books
Henry O’Toole sails to America in 1848 to escape poverty and famine in Ireland, only to find anti-Irish prejudice awaiting him. Determined never to starve again, he changes his surname to Taylor and heads south to Virginia, seeking work as a travelling blacksmith on the prosperous plantations.
Sarah is a slave. Torn from her family and sold to Jubilee Plantation, she must navigate the hierarchy of her fellow slaves, the whims of her white masters, and now the attentions of the mysterious blacksmith.
Fellow slave Maple oversees the big house with bitterness and bile, and knows that a white man’s attention spells trouble. Given to her half-sister as a wedding present by their white father, she is set on being reunited with her husband and daughter, at any cost.
Based on the true story of the author’s great-great-grandparents, and brilliantly reimagined, this is an epic tale of love and courage, desperation and determination.