A Dying Truth Exposed, Book One

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
356 Pages
Reviewed on 06/06/2022
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite

Bloodlines is the first novel in the Dying Truth Exposed series by Marcus Abston. It is a historical novel that tells a tale of survival and fighting the odds. Albert Brooks woke up one morning and realized his family had no idea about their heritage. He told the story of Annabelle, his great-great-grandmother who was a slave in the early 1800s on a plantation belonging to the Brown family. She became a house slave when her master’s daughters, especially Judy Mays, took a shine to her. While the girls were kindly, the master and mistress of the house were cruel and constantly reminded Annabelle of her slave status. Things became unbearable when Judy Mays married and moved away. Unable to live under the brutal thumb of Master Brown, Annabelle ran away. However, nowhere was safe for a runaway slave. How could Annabelle survive all alone?

Heartfelt and emotionally charged, the story was surprisingly realistic. Marcus Abston kept the narrative raw and simple, which allowed me to fully immerse myself in the story and feel the horrors that Annabelle faced at the hands of Master Brown. Sometimes, the story is a little hard to read because of the authenticity, but the author gave us just the right amount of positivity to push forward and root for Annabelle as she fought for a better life. A rare look into the lives of female slaves and the atrocities that women like Annabelle had to face every day while they slaved away on a plantation. The narrative in Bloodlines did justice to the period. It was painful to watch Annabelle lose her innocence and learn that no one could protect her but herself. I cannot wait to read what happens next! Intense and engrossing!

Teresa Syms

Bloodlines (A Dying Truth Exposed, Book One) by Marcus Abston opens with a grandfather holding a family gathering. This is a story told by a loving man proud of his heritage. He feels he must educate his family about their history. Annabelle was born a slave in Mississippi. She became a house slave and grew to love her mistress, the youngest daughter of the plantation owner, Mr. Brown, and his wife. Unfortunately, Annabelle’s beauty brings her to the attention of her master. In his lust, he decides he will take Annabelle anytime, any day, and in any way he chooses. Poor Annabelle must endure being raped daily by her master, but luckily for her, she never becomes pregnant. As she watches another plantation slave being tortured, beaten, and set alight, Annabelle decides her time has come and she runs away. Will Annabelle, now called Sasha, remain a free woman, or will she be caught by the slave catchers and returned to Mr. Brown’s plantation? This is only the beginning of the journey for Annabelle.

Marcus Abston’s Bloodlines is an incredibly moving story that takes place in Mississippi and Missouri in the 1800s when slaves worked hard for their masters but were not always treated well. Her mistress, Miss Judy Mays, becomes her friend and mentor, teaching Annabelle to read, speak well, and carry herself with dignity - all things slaves should not do. This is an extremely well-written book that depicts the trials and tribulations of its main characters. The character development is exceptional and the reader will visualize each of them as they experience life, love, friendship, anger, and violence. Abston’s plot is created and developed brilliantly. There is never a dull moment in this story. I applaud the work of this fantastic author and look forward to reading part two. The cliffhanger at the end left me wanting so much more, and I cannot wait for the rest of the series.

Viga Boland

During my years as a book reviewer, I’ve read more than a handful of novels based on black slavery and racial issues in the US. While all were informative and too many most disturbing, it’s a surprise to now read one with similar messages that was rather enjoyable: Bloodlines: A Dying Truth Exposed, Book One by Marcus Abston. What’s different about this book? When we first meet Annabelle/Sasha, a pretty young black slave, she is in an enviable situation as she is loved, and hence somewhat sheltered, by the daughter of the white plantation owner, Master Brown, to whom she and her family belong. Once the protective daughter marries, Annabelle runs away to escape being continually raped by the owner. An enchanting tale unfolds as Annabelle is taken under the wings of a pair of open-minded, wealthy white women. Together the three women experience and question the reality of being female and subjected to attitudes and laws determined by men, and in Annabelle’s case, of being a “freed” slave.

The power of Marcus Abston’s approach to telling yet another story about black slavery lies in his skill at using lots of dialogue to let characters reveal their true selves. The result is that readers sense misogynism and racial slurs more deeply. Simultaneously, readers find themselves cheering on all women struggling with the social and cultural demands to find a suitable husband. Depending on the character’s role in the story, the dialogue is swift, often amusing, and always clever. What a way to involve readers emotionally while exposing some ugly truths of what life was like for women imprisoned by antiquated attitudes. While men can and should read Bloodlines, at the risk of my being called sexist, it is women who will enjoy this book most. I was fascinated by how thoroughly the author understands his well-drawn female characters, captures their behavior, and comprehends their desire for autonomy from men. Abston informs us that there is a sequel to Annabelle’s tale in the works. I can’t wait to read what’s ahead for this plucky and determined heroine.