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Review of ‘Between Slavery and Freedom, The Stella Trilogy Book One’ by Yecheilyah Ysrayl

Happy Friday! The kids are home from school today, as it is a PA day here, and so I’m typing this up before heading off to meetings with their teachers.

I just finished reading this first of a series by a formerly unknown (to me) author Yecheilyah Ysrayl. I’m happy to say that I’m hooked and look forward to reading the next two.

What Amazon Says:

In book one, Cynthia McNair and her boyfriend, Alex, express some racists’ feelings toward blacks. They visit Cynthia’s Grandmother Sidney McNair, who recounts the story of her ancestor, a slave named Stella Mae. Cynthia has no idea of her African ancestry or how deep this rabbit hole goes.

My Turn:

Nineteen-year-old Cynthia McNair, from Chicago, doesn’t consider herself a racist, however she is quick to share her approval of racial segregation. The year is 1996, but she’s heard stories about the “glory days” of apartheid.

She lives alone with her mother, her parents separated when she was younger, and she’s never met her father’s mother. Against her father’s will, she tracks Mama Sidney McNair down and together with boyfriend Alex, pays her a visit.

The shocking discovery at her grandmother’s house changes her self-image, and her opinion of her parents. To make things worse, Alex wants nothing more to do with Cynthia.

Enraged at living a lie, she confronts her mother and father. Her father tells her that his mother is trouble and that there are far more secrets to be revealed. He announces that he is flying in the next day. They are going to meet the extended family at his mother’s house where all will be revealed.

Cynthia is unwilling to go at first, but finally yields. She is ecstatic to meet formerly unknown cousins and aunts and uncles she’s not seen in years. Finally, there will be closure.

As with most of life, things do not go as planned and a tragedy unfolds that prevents Mama Sidney from disclosing the rest of the story. The book ends at this point.

I found myself engaged in the story, wanting to know more with every turn of the page. The character of Cynthia is well-formed and the historical and current issues of racism were accurate, in my opinion.

A solid background is created right from the start, and the reader will get a glimpse into the twisted ideology of a systemic racist culture, both past and present.

Yecheilyah has done an outstanding job of capturing my interest and I look forward to reading book number two of this trilogy.

Five stars!

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