It’s an absolute pleasure to take part in the BlogTour River Sing Me Home by Eleanor Shearer.
About the Author
Eleanor Shearer is a mixed-race writer and the granddaughter of Windrush generation immigrants. She splits her time between London and Ramsgate so that she never has to go too long without seeing the sea. For her Master’s degree in Politics at the University of Oxford, Eleanor studied the legacy of slavery and the case for reparations, and her fieldwork in St. Lucia and Barbados helped inspire her first novel. Follow @eleanorbshearer on Twitter
About the book
Powerful, moving and redemptive, River Sing Me Home tells of a mother’s desperate search to find her stolen children and her freedom.
We whisper the names of the ones we love like the words of a song. That was the taste of freedom to us, those names on our lips. 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.
The thought of finally being able to grasp freedom, the wisp of the possibility is whisked away just a quickly, as plantation owners exchange one type of slavery for another. It sets something in motion in Rachel, who has endured loss and grief, and in a moment of unimaginable bravery she sets forth on a journey.
She runs. For herself and her children. She listens for them in the leaves, the people, the land that is both prison and presentation of creation. She searches for the connection she has lost. The only thread to herself and in a way to a past she will never be able to return to. This is a story of love, of heart and above of strength.
What I take away from this is the author’s thought that women decide not to let themselves be defined by the cruelty they have experienced. It would be so simple, and understandable, for these men and women to scorch the earth with their pain. Indeed is there really any way, especially for the perpetrators and their descendants to ever comprehend what has been wrought upon victims of slavery. That the roots of their families, cultures, heritage, sense of safety and belonging were severed and destroyed beyond recognition. Their path and history forever changed.
It’s a beautifully written story enmeshed in the harsh truth of ruthless profiteering. The stories living in the fractured reality and core strength of the survivors. It is simultaneously a painful open wound – a reminder of the atrocities, and a hauntingly melodic song of connection and recognition.
Buy River Sing Me Home at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : Headline Review, pub date 19 Jan. 2023. Buy at Amazon com. Buy via Headline.