Reviewed by Heather Osborne for Readers' Favorite
Essie's Roses: A Novel by Michelle Muriel is a historical fiction novel set in the South during the years leading up to the American Civil War. Essie, a slave, is born on the Westland plantation at the same time as the plantation owner, Katie Winthrop, births a little girl named Evie. Mysterious circumstances surround Essie's parentage, as her mother dies in birth. Evie's father loved Essie's mother, so they must hide the small girl. Against odds, Essie and Evie forge a deep friendship, surpassing race lines and cultural norms of the time. However, Evie's father is a horrible man and things come to pass that could change the girls' lives forever. Will they be able to overcome all the societal pressures and truly find freedom?
Miss Muriel's novel is a thing of beauty. I loved the changing perspectives. It was refreshing to see various points of view of the same story, and the author did it seamlessly, keeping the flow of the story going. I also enjoyed seeing a story set before the Civil War. I find the whole era fascinating so it was a well-written prelude to a bloody war. I could tell the author took a great deal of time researching the era, and that is something I always appreciate in a historical novel. Overall, Essie's Roses: A Novel will make you laugh and cry, but most of all appreciate the innocence of children's friendship. Michelle Muriel should be very proud of her accomplishment in this novel and I will happily recommend it to others.