Thursday, February 28, 2013

Review Day: Dirty Rice

It's Review Day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Title: Dirty Rice
Author: Dorothy K. Morris
My Rating: 4 stars

Book Blurb:
DIRTY RICE, a novel set in the early 18th Century in the Low-Country of the early South Carolina Colony, tells of love, passion, adventure and cruelty with totally believable characters. It is the first prequel to the four books of the Mockingbird Hill Series. The early 18th Century saw vast expansion into the New World from England, the European Continent and from Africa, and the establishment of rice plantations in the coastal regions of South Carolina and Georgia. Set against this background DIRTY RICE sweeps us away to a bygone era of adventure, romance and brutal reality. This is the story of African rice and African people, their knowledge, expertise and their forced labor that made the Carolina Colony the wealthiest colony in colonial America. It takes us from the plush parlors of aristocratic English absentee land owners, who set policy in the Colony to maximize profit, to the swampy shores of Carolina amid the mud and muck of rice fields, where people kidnapped from West Africa because of their knowledge and expertise in the growing of rice, were forced to work to fill the coffers of the landowners with wealth. It is a story of exploitation by some and compassion from others. In this, as in her four previous novels, Morris' emphasis is on the people who lived and were forced to cope with what life sent their way. This saga will continue into the next novel, TALLY'S NOOK.

My Review:
A novel based on a very difficult and touchy subject.  I was completely captivated by every minute of it.  The writing style Dorothy K. Morris has is impeccable.  She knows when to add in dialogue, when to add extra detail and when to just let the story take on a life of its own.  The plot, characters and setting were perfect.  Dorothy did an incredible job of capturing the various stories in the novel flawlessly.

Each chapter encapsulated a set of characters and their story.  The entire novel consisted of one plot still, not completely separate stories, but was told by many different voices.  One chapter would be all about the girls - Fulani, Edriam, Lucy and Corrina - but the next chapter would be all about the guys - John and Ben.  I loved getting to know each "side" of the story and trying to figure out how the story would unfold.  The story isn't just about slavery and the hardships that come with it.  It is also about romance, living in the 18th century, moving and adapting to new cultures, as well as going from young women/men to adults.  This beautiful tale was so incredibly well written that I couldn't put it down.  I read the entire novel in just one night!

I bet you're wondering why I only gave it four stars, even though I'm absolutely raving about it so far.  I decided to give it four stars instead of five because of just a few imperfections.  The beginning was very slow and was difficult to get through.  Once I hit about chapter 10, I realized I was hooked.  I also found quite a few grammatical and editing errors that threw me off more than once.  Normally, these types of errors don't bother me but for some reason they did this time.  I had to re-read several sentences and paragraphs because I couldn't always grasp what was going on in it due to the errors.  I feel bad knocking it down to four stars because of something so small, but it really did change my opinion.

I highly recommend this novel to anyone over the age of 14 (some content is inappropriate for younger readers).  The content can be heavy at times, so please remember that when reading this book.  I didn't feel weighed down by the content one bit while reading it.  Dorothy took a tough subject and made it not only understandable, but intriguing.

Pick up your own copy of Dirty Rice on Amazon in paperback or ebook editions.  Happy Review Day!!


Dorothy K Morris said...

Thank you so very much for your review and your words and compliments. I am happy that you liked the book. When I decided to write about this time and subject, I had great feelings of doubt that I could do it justice and am pleased that you think I did just that.
I would like to add a bit of explanation of why the book began the way it did...slowly at first. My own personal feeling about reading a book is that, if we jump right into the action, it is too much like making love without the beginnings. So most of my books begin this way. I like to give a feel for the subject, era, area and go from there with the action...set the mood, more or less; to take the reader from the busy now to then.
Also, thanks for pointing out the errors. I will have to look for them. Thanks, Dorothy K Morris

HilyBee said...

You definitely did an amazing job with the era and content. :) Thank you so much for reading the review!