By: Michelle Muriel
Publisher: Little Cabin Books
Publication Date: March 2015
Reviewed by: Charline Ratcliff
Date: May 24, 2015
I have finished my reading of Essie’s Roses and all I can say is – wow, what an amazing read. What a well-written, completely believable and insightful book. Essie’s Roses is a ‘fictional’ novel, yet it encompasses the same importance of message, and will certainly remind readers of their intrinsic knowledge of right versus wrong with the same quiet strength of conviction that Harriet Beecher Stowe provided to her readers when she wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
Additionally though, this book is much more than just that. Essie’s Roses is the beautifully poignant tale of two girls; one white, the other colored – who grow up together (but still separate) during the mid-1800s. This is the story of their heartfelt and true love for one another. An accounting showing how they are each able to overcome the odds of the lives they have been born into. For even though slavery (the subjugation of an entire race due only to the ‘infraction’ of being born a different color) was commonly accepted as ‘right’ during our country’s younger years; this book will force the reader to look even further beyond that misconception – in order to acknowledge that there are many additional forms of slavery; and that they each stem from cruelty, coupled with a complete and utter disregard for the pricelessness of another human’s soul.
In Essie’s Roses, the reader will begin his, or her, literary journey with a very poignant show of love – as a young colored girl named Essie Mae seeks to save the life of her (white) best-friend, Evie Winthrop. Essie Mae also understands that to be caught would result in the loss of her own life, but she cannot – more importantly will not; leave her best friend to suffer alone.
From here, the story continues – providing the reader with a brief glimpse into the lives of the mothers who birthed these two girls, before the story again moves forward and focuses on each one of the two very different, yet very similar, lives of Essie Mae and Evie.
While I could provide the potential reader with additional information about this amazing and riveting novel – I choose not to. The power of the words and the story found within Essie’s Roses needs to be discovered by the reader for her or himself.
Quill says: Michelle Muriel has penned a wonderfully moving work of fiction – and one that will leave no reader with a dry eye. I fully expect to see Essie’s Roses on the silver screen someday, but until then I will simply look forward to reading future works by this author. Five Stars (and then add some more)!