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Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
Myrtle's Closet by authors Kareem Wade and Mandy Wade is a gripping tale of love and sacrifice set against the backdrop of the American Civil War. It's the year 1910. While rummaging through the artifacts of her recently deceased mother Myrtle Polk, Sarah Polk comes across a book written by her mother chronicling her life story. Myrtle's tale takes Sarah back through the pages of history, where Myrtle recounts being sold as a slave at the age of seven alongside her family to Jesse Polk. After witnessing the cold-blooded murder of her mother during the slave auction, Myrtle grows up harboring an inherent resentment towards her masters. Isabel Polk, daughter of Jesse, becomes her only ray of sunshine, and the duo soon develops a burgeoning friendship that blossoms into a relationship of deep love.
Myrtle's Closet tells a harrowing tale of a woman living life as a slave during pre-Civil War America and follows her as she eventually obtains her freedom with help the help of her lover. Authors Kareem and Mandy Wade masterfully capture the stigma and distrust associated with LGBTQ relationships in the 19th century and craft a moving love story depicting a black slave and her mistress. The plot moves at a brisk pace, and the characters feel vivid and fleshed out. Myrtle and Isabel's relationship drives the narrative, and it felt riveting to read. The authors don't shy away from showcasing the darker aspects of humanity, as I thought a couple of scenes felt brutally real. I found myself glued to the pages of Myrtle's Closet. Highly recommended.