The Indigo Girl: A Novel

Written by:
Natasha Boyd
Narrated by:
Saskia Maarleveld

Unabridged Audiobook

Ratings
Book
382
Narrator
142
Release Date
October 2017
Duration
10 hours 32 minutes
Summary
In this incredible story of ambition, betrayal, and sacrifice, an extraordinary sixteen-year-old girl in Colonial South Carolina defies all expectations to achieve her dream.

The year is 1739. Eliza Lucas is sixteen years old when her father leaves her in charge of their family’s three plantations in rural South Carolina and then proceeds to bleed the estates dry in pursuit of his military ambitions. Tensions with the British, and with the Spanish in Florida, just a short way down the coast, are rising, and slaves are starting to become restless. Her mother wants nothing more than for their South Carolina endeavor to fail so they can go back to England. Soon her family is in danger of losing everything.

Upon hearing how much the French pay for indigo dye, Eliza believes it’s the key to their salvation. But everyone tells her it’s impossible, and no one will share the secret to making it. Thwarted at nearly every turn, even by her own family, Eliza finds that her only allies are an aging horticulturalist, an older and married gentleman lawyer, and a slave with whom she strikes a dangerous deal: teach her the intricate thousand-year-old secret process of making indigo dye and in return—against the laws of the day—she will teach the slaves to read.

So begins an incredible story of love, dangerous and hidden friendships, ambition, betrayal, and sacrifice.

Based on historical documents, including Eliza’s letters, this is a historical fiction account of how a teenage girl produced indigo dye, which became one of the largest exports out of South Carolina, an export that laid the foundation for the incredible wealth of several Southern families who still live on today. Although largely overlooked by historians, the accomplishments of Eliza Lucas influenced the course of US history. When she passed away in 1793, President George Washington served as a pallbearer at her funeral.

This book is set between 1739 and 1744, with romance, intrigue, forbidden friendships, and political and financial threats weaving together to form the story of a remarkable young woman whose actions were before their time: the story of the indigo girl.
Reviews
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Pamela G.

Excellent historical fiction. It was a story I couldn’t stop listening to. Eliza Lucas was a fascinating, strong woman. Her development of Indigo dye was truly amazing at a time when woman were not taken seriously. Well read.

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Judi Jeanotte

Awesome tale. It was a joy to hear a based on truth story about such a strong young woman. It's truly amazing that she accomplished so much in an age where women, especially young women, were treated as chattel. The characters were brought to life by the wonderful narration. If you like historical novels, this book is for you!

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Susan Rollenhagen

Great historical fiction about a strong woman. Really enjoyed learning about Eliza's life and appreciated the author's notes at the end.

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Barbara G.

It was interesting to be reading this book while widespread demonstrations for racial justice for African Americans were going on. Demonstrators pointed to the history of slavery in this country; the book was written from the point of view of a young Englishwoman newly immersed in the ownership and management of enslaved people in the mid-18th century. What I appreciated about the book was its solid grounding in historical research among the papers left by Eliza Lucas. This was not a "moonlight and magnolias" romantic treatment of the slave system. I was still left with the question of how the enslaved African Americans benefited from sharing the intricate process of growing and processing indigo, which became the foundation for fortunes amassed by the Pinckney and other South Carolinian families. Interested to learn in the Afterward that one of the enslaved men who was key to Eliza's success was freed a few years later, purchased land in the Charleston area, and became a planter himself.

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Gail R.

This was one of the first books I have listened to where at first—- I knew it was being “read”. The use of the First Person (“I said...”, “ I thought...”) was distracting. Somewhere in the middle, the narrator sounded more like she was performing this book rather than reading it. Anyway, the topic was interesting. I did cheat and look up Eliza Lucas Pinckney before I finished listening which did not ruin the book.

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Marc K.

The author made the story come to life. Definitely a good read/listen.

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Stephanie K.

Interesting story- fast paced and kept my attention! These are the women who should be taught about in history books.

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Philip H.

An excellent story based on a little known historical woman who significantly changed South Carolina's economic future in the mid-1700s with her initiative to grow indigo. This story about Eliza Lucas was fascinating as it addressed the standing in society of women and Blacks, whether as slaves or free. The story focuses on her challenges and not on slavery, other than her point of view. The narrator did a good job reflecting Eliza's emotions and thoughts, which must have been radical at the time. This narrative could be the author's approach to add drama to her story.

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BetsyL

I loved this book, I didn’t want it to end!

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Anonymous

Excellent!

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Susan M.

I had to keep reminding myself that this is based on a true story. Proof that “truth is stranger than fiction”

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Erin J.

Such a great book! I haven’t been able to move on…

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Patrick M.

Truly a great book. One of the best historical novels I have come across. If you like historical novels don’t miss this one.

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Joni T.

I really enjoyed her accent. The book was interesting.

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Anonymous

Historical fiction done to its best. There are still tales of Charleston’s history based on the indigo girl from the 1739 to 1744. I couldn’t stop reading it !

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Tracy A.

I love this narrator, she could bring the dictionary to life. The slave storyline, while historically accurate, could be a bit cringeworthy to listen to at times. I found the epilogue fascinating, knowing that the main character was a real person made the story that much more interesting.

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FannyB

Loved this story and will look for more about Eliza. Narrator was the perfect choice.

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Carol M.

Well done- I thought it was predictable at some points until I realized it was historical fiction- truth is stranger than fiction- that some slave masters could be so cruel and that mothers could get in the way with social customs made me glad I live in different times.

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Anonymous

what an outstanding story. Natasha says at the end of the book that she wanted to give this young woman a voice. She certainly did. A well-told story about a subject that has received little attention in history. I cannot recommend this story enough.

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Anonymous

Spectacular-a book that stays with you

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Anonymous

This is a powerful well written historical fiction story based on the life of Eliza Lucas a 16 years old girl who in 1739 takes over the running of her family plantation. Even though the story events take place in the 18th century, the main character appears to be very progressive and contemporary. A good read.

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Anonymous

Excellent book and narration. Keep my attention, was thought-provoking, and so nice to have a book with a strong female and supporting characters.

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Ruthless621

I absolutely loved this story! It was riveting and meaningful and, while not necessarily historically accurate, it was close enough to have true depth of meaning. Wonderfully told By the narrator. A truly engaging piece!

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Anonymous

Nice historical fiction. Really enjoyed it!

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Dorte Lassen

It took me a little while to warm up to this story. But when I found out at the end, that it actually is a true story, the whole story got a new meaning. It is a homage for a strong woman, but also a strong man who supported her and her ideas all the way through.

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Anonymous

Good timing of narration. A little suspense. History of somehow unknoun story of denin trousers. A series of disapointing achievements finished by the glory of final success.

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Anonymous

How hard to be an ambitious woman in this era not to mention the oppression that a person of color had to endure during this time as well I learned a lot from this book and am so grateful I listened to it

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Sharon J.

Thoroughly enjoyed the story and the narrator.

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Adele R.

This was such a fascinating book. It was a free VIP read and I absolutely loved. it. A well told story and the narrator was one of the best I've heard. The author's notes at the end finished it off beautifully. I'm going to read more Natasha Boyd books now.

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Dina G.

Loved this book! So interesting and inspiring. I had no idea about Eliza Lucas or what she and her descendants accomplished. This audiobook was one of my favorites.

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Anonymous

I enjoyed this book. I love reading books about strong and inspiring women. Eliza was definitely this. The narration was also easy to listen to. Smooth and pleasant.

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Donna V.

I enjoyed this reimagining of what Eliza and those around her could have been like. What a creative storyteller- I enjoyed the book like an entertaining piece of fiction but it also left me wanting to know more about the actual Eliza Lucas. The book was an unexpected surprise

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Carol B.

A wonderfully narrated account of an exceptional person. Very suspenseful.

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RachelO

Interesting story that I really enjoyed. I thought the narrator was very good. Well worth a credit

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Victor W.

A marvelous story of a person defying all odds and emerging triumphant. A masterfully written and worded book that infuses the listener with all the emotion of being there and experiencing what the heroine had to face, and overcome, in a very difficult time in America. What is most gratifying is that Eliza Luca is an actual historical figure who may have saved one of our southern states' economies. I can't say enough about the wonderful narrator, Saskia Maarleveld, who could change her voice to play so many different characters, as well as, put so much emotion in them. I liked her so much I looked for other works that she narrated.

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Mary S.

I loved the fact that this was based on a remarkable true story.

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Rodney B.

One of the best books that I have listened to. Factual and mesmerizing, intriguing and exciting. The narrator was so good.

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Anonymous

Well written and well read. Hard to stop listening.

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John R.

This was a great listen. I was captivated by the story from the beginning and all thru the story line. Wonderful mix of history, fiction, character development and plot. Narrator also did a great job.

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CatherineBrennon

A wonderful story of a woman's amazing spirit and courage in a time that women had no rights. Well written and narrated. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this book

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Arlene F.

I loved this book because of its historical significance living in the Low Country of SC. The narrator was very good and held my attention. I just passed Charles Pinckney’s plantation outside of Charleston and will now make a point of visiting it in the very near future.

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Carol S.

Interesting historical fiction.

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Evelyn H.

Excellent story! Excellent narrator! Highly recommend!

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Carol V.

Didn't realize this was based on a real woman. Loved the story, no bad language, narrator was easy to understand. Just a great listen.

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Valerie P.

I enjoyed this historical fiction novel. I knew nothing about the role Indigo played in southern history nor did I know anything about Eliza. I highly recommend this book.

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Paula S.

This was an excellent book and the reader made it come to life. I highly recommend it. So informative about Eliza and the time period.

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Vivian T.

Inspirational historical novel. Well written and the narration was excellent.

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Mary Jeanne M.

Good book. We’ll written and narrated. Kept my interest throughout. Based on a real life female character in plantation history. Fascinating to learn about the growing and harvesting of indigo. A complicated plant and process.

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Sabra G.

A good listen. I consumed it quickly, and I enjoyed especially the history. Good research albeit fictional story.

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Terence K.

I really enjoyed this book. As a fan of Historical Fiction, it was an interesting story that brought into focus the political atmosphere regarding women and race in America (or the New World at the time) during the early 1700's. The narrator had a pleasant voice and she did a great job with the characters.

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Anonymous

I enjoyed this historical yet fictional story. Honestly I had no idea what this book was about. But I could not put it down once I started reading it. It wasn’t until the epilogue that I discovered it was based on true events. That sparked my interest to research the real life characters. Fascinating part of South Carolina history. The narrator was great.

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Deborah Z.

Well written and fascinating account of the woman responsible for bringing the indigo industry to the USA . Based on her letters. Really enjoyed! Narrator was excellent also.

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Sarah K.

Excellent historical novel

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Debra B.

I really enjoyed listening to this book. It was all so very proper ;) A historical book with interesting facts about Indigo.

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Anonymous

I LOVED this book, highly recommend it! I love historical fiction, and stories of strong women, and learning by listening to really engaging stories and meeting the characters. The narrator was wonderful, and Eliza Lucas is such an important yet relatively unknown player in American history. Every bit I and we can learn and understand about slavery is so essential.

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Anonymous

Very interesting to hear history from her point.

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Anonymous

Good story and well narrated

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Jessica T.

what an amazing story! the story based the life of Eliza Lucas pickney and her struggles in life & with indigo flowed beautifully. I felt I was there, as the narrator was perfect.

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ANGELA T.

I,m not sure if I like the narrator,s performance, male voices in particular, all sound like if the men were angry all the times

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J R.

Interesting historical novel, well read, great listen. Happy to find an intelligent, strong, fair female protagonist, especially from that era.

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Kathryn R.

Great historical picture of the time periods and an amazing colonial girl growing to womanhood in a complex social structure. Eliza was out of sync with her time period in moral and economic expectations of women and of the enslaved people who built the prosperity of colonial America. Wonderful book!

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McKayla W.

Loved it! It was fascinating and educational and heart-wrenching all at once.

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Heather L

Amazing book about a strong, smart young lady!! Also my favorite narrator!!

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