Review: Shadow of a Quarter Moon by Eileen Clymer Schwab

Shadow of a Quarter Moon by Eileen Clymer Schwab
Publication Date:  July 5, 2011
Publisher: New American Library
Page Count: 380
Source: provided by publisher for review

1830, North Carolina. As the daughter of a plantation owner, Jacy has been raised in a privileged world. But when her father suddenly dies, her cold, unfeeling mother, Claudia, schemes to marry Jacy off to a well-positioned but lecherous suitor. In a fit of fury over Jacy’s protests, Claudia calls her “a foolish, infernal quadroon” –and reveals that Jacy is the off-spring of a dalliance between her father and a slave. Finally Jacy understands the true meaning of “quarter moon.”

This devastating revelation utterly destroys Jacy’s sense of who she is and where she belongs in the world. If her secret is revealed, she’ll be cast out of white society. But how can she embrace a race that she has been taught is inferior? Equally shocking, her biological mother and brother are still slaves on the property. As she tentatively gets to know them–and the handsome horse trainer Rafe–and feels the warmth of their affection, she begins to see life in the South with fresh eyes. And when Claudia threatens to sell Jacy’s new family, Jacy makes a decision that will take her on a treacherous journey. With the North Star as her guide, she heads toward freedom…and a brand-new, once unimaginable understanding of who she is and where her future lies.

Review: Jacy Lane has what most would consider a near perfect life, but after her father’s unexpected death, it takes a sharp turn for the worse. Everything Jacy thought she knew about her father, her life, and her very being gets thrown up into the air with her desperaely trying to catch the peices. After discovering her mother is a slave and not the woman who raised her, several issues in Jacy’s life click into place, but several more rise up. Jacy must make the hard decision to free her biological family and her new love interest from their bondage. Jacy is reluctant to see them go and decides shortly after to follow. But her path differs greatly from theirs as she flees to the North after them. She tries to sail north on a lighter boat, is almost caught by her ex-fiance, flees into the swamp, is accosted there, trapped by a slave hunter, turned over for bounty, whipped and much more. I feel Ms. Schwab is attempting to show the plight of all through a single journey, but it is almost a little much as one thing after another happens to Jacy with a speed that is nearly dizzying.

However, the book is intriguing, well written, and a definite adventure. The research is accurate and thorough, lending an authentic air to Jacy and those around her. I felt for Jacy as she struggled to find her way when all was lost. She doesn’t belong with the whites or the blacks. But must instead determine who she is among both. You’ll find yourself holding your breath in hopes that Jacy can make a new life for herself and those she loves in a world she doesn’t understand.

Favorite Quote: “Ugly comes in all shades, Jacy. Don’t pay her no mind.”

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