Born on a plantation in Charles City, Virginia, Pheby Brown was promised her freedom on her eighteenth birthday. But when her birthday finally comes around, instead of the idyllic life she was hoping for with her true love, she finds herself thrust into the bowels of slavery at the infamous Devil’s Half-Acre, a jail where slaves are broken, tortured, and sold every day. Forced to become the mistress of the brutal man who owns the jail, Pheby faces the ultimate sacrifice to protect her heart in this powerful, thrilling story of one slave’s fight for freedom.
The Sexy Nerd's Review. . .
What a way to kick off my Black History Month reading. OMG!!! Where do I even begin with this incredible story?
Pheby Delores Brown was the daughter of Master Jacob and Ruth Brown, a slave. Although Pheby was born of light skin, she wasn’t light enough to pass for white. Even though she couldn’t pass, her light skin afforded her a life that was vastly different than the other slaves on the plantation. Miss Sally, Jacob’s sister, taught Pheby the finer things in life. She learned to read, write and play the piano, of which, Pheby had to keep her education well hid because it was against the law in the 1800s to educate any slave.
One thing Ruby always taught her daughter is that she may have been born into slavery, but by no means was she a slave in the mind. With the education taught to her by her father’s side of the family and her mother’s confidence, Pheby was definitely ready to set the world on fire. For her eighteenth birthday, she was promised her freedom papers and proper education in Boston, Massachusetts. But a series of very unfortunate circumstances happened causing Pheby’s dreams of freedom to wither away into despair. The Mistress of the plantation, behind Master’s back, sold Pheby off the plantation because she hated that she was a product of her husband. Why she wasn’t upset with Ruth, is a whole other ball of wax, but it was Pheby she detested.
Pheby was turned over to the infamous Devil’s Half-Acre run by Master Henry who ran the jail in Richmond, Virginia. As Pheby was placed upon the auction block demanded to strip of all her clothing for the potential slave owners to bid on her, Pheby refused to do so. It was unheard of for a slave to talk back, let alone not follow a direct order. Just as she was about to be beaten beyond belief, a voice rang out in the background advising that he wanted to buy her and Pheby’s journey descends into further hell from this point on.
When I tell you I could have read this book in one day, I’m dead serious. This book was so damn good I could not get enough of it. Pheby’s life was a hardship, of course, but her courage and bravery were just mind blowing. She had to endure a lot for her children’s sake which helped to keep her going. I was sitting on pins and needles every time she did something against her captor. She became the mistress of the slavery prison and known as the ‘yellow wife.’ Wow, this story was just amazing. I couldn’t get enough of it. This was one of the best books I’ve read in a long, long time!
The Sexy Nerd gives Yellow Wife five extra hand maids to assist her with her everyday duties. I must say that I wasn’t a fan of how the story ended, but given all the factors in the story line, I get why it ended the way it did. Pheby was one strong woman that always put her children first and for that she certainly deserved the mother of the year award! If you’re looking for books written by black authors to celebrate Black History Month or just for the fun of reading a really good book, I highly recommend you read this. You will not be disappointed. Until next time, Nerds, you know what to do.