Trials & Tribulations of Modesty Greene

A Fictional Novel About Harriet Tubman's Historical Legacy

Fiction - Audiobook
Audio Book
Reviewed on 08/03/2019
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

D.W. Plato has been known to say, "Give me thirty minutes in a hostel, hotel or hospital and I could walk out with a novel idea". With her ability to make friends quickly combined with a gift of gab, and an over-active imagination, this isn't a stretch.

She's been writing as long as she can remember and has always dreamed of being published. With modern technology and the ease in which self-publishing is available in today's modern world, she thought, 'why not?' Her books have been awarded a bronze medal through the Readers' Favorite annual writing contest (2019) in the audiobook category as well as Official Selection winners through New Apple Book Awards (2018).

"There's more to come," DW says. She'll tell you she's set a goal to write a book a year for the rest of her life and is currently working on her fifth novel. A wife, mother, business owner and author, DW stays busy in what she considers America's best kept secret, New Mexico.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Sarah Stuart for Readers' Favorite

Trials & Tribulations of Modesty Greene: A Fictional Novel About Harriet Tubman’s Historical Legacy by D W Plato has settings that sweep from a very third-world country to North America, and the huge cast of characters is equally detailed and vivid. The reader experiences eighteenth-century Africa and how “Little Mo” is captured by slave traders and taken to work for the cruel Maryland plantation owner, Robert Banks, chosen at the request of his spoiled lesbian daughter, Ethel. Modesty Greene is “the Massa’s” property – his to force to work by any means, and her body his to rape. How Modesty survives to grow up, marry, and give birth to a dynasty that includes Araminta Ross – Harriet – is an intriguing story.

Trials & Tribulations of Modesty Greene opens with Mo’destee Vert, a young Senegambia teenager, in love and happy. Life as she knows it ends when her beloved father fails to prevent villagers being taken as slaves and shipped to America. At first, Modesty Greene, as she is now known, appears to be lucky, befriended by Ethel, Robert Banks’ daughter, but she is hated by her fellow slaves who assume she gets special treatment. A Muslim, she is at prayer when her master first rapes her. In Trials & Tribulations of Modesty Greene, D W Plato has written a worthy tribute to the real Harriet Tubman and I recommend it to everyone interested in history, freedom, women’s rights, or all three.

Trials & Tribulations of Modesty Greene lends itself particularly well to audio, perhaps because the author employed three narrators. Tishelle Peterson, Nene Nwoko, and Machelle Williams did an incredible job bringing Modesty Greene’s story to life. They each sounded so “right” in their part, and none of them had a problem when the character in question happened to be male or a descriptive section. It held my attention one hundred percent.

K.C. Finn

Trials & Tribulations of Modesty Greene is an audiobook based on historical events, penned by D. W. Plato and narrated by Tishelle Peterson, Nene Nwoko and Machelle Williams. Billed as ‘A Fictional Novel About Harriet Tubman's Historical Legacy’, the story focuses on the period of time between two women of different generations during the era of slavery in the United States. The titular Modesty Greene is stolen away from her home village in 1789, whilst years later Araminta Ross, who would later become the famous Harriet, finds strength in her relationship with God to forge a path to freedom. This kickstarts an incredible legacy on the road to the freedom of all slaves.

In terms of the story itself, author D. W. Plato delivers an important history lesson in the guise of a deeply personal fiction tale about powerful women subjugated by the circumstances of their birth. The prose is fluid and emotive, with naturalistic narration and authentic historical detail to keep the story vivid, atmospheric and alive. You always want to know what’s going to happen next, alongside the important civil rights lessons you’re learning as an involved reader.

In terms of audiobook quality, I found it really engaging to have three separate narrators reciting different roles and periods from the story. To see how Modesty grows and is changed by motherhood and her enslavement is only added to by Nene Nwoko’s intense and emotive narration. Tishelle Peterson and Machelle Williams deliver similarly powerful performances, evoking a real sense of history with their authentic accents and the dialogue of the author marrying perfectly. Overall, Trials & Tribulations of Modesty Greene is a superb novel only enhanced further by the stellar work of its audiobook cast.

Rabia Tanveer

It was the year 1789 when Mo’destee Vert was living happily in her country, Senegambia. She was happily in love and dreaming about getting married to the man of her dreams when strangers speaking a foreign language attacked their village. In just one day she changed from Mo’destee Vert to Modesty Greene, a slave. Being the property of Robert Banks was not easy, but she focused on surviving. She braved every single day without realizing that her descendants would one day seek freedom and actually get it!

Trials & Tribulations of Modesty Greene: A Fictional Novel about Harriet Tubman's Historical Legacy by D.W. Plato is a fictional attempt at tracing Harriet Tubman's heritage and how one woman’s bravery led to a woman who would save at least 70 slaves in the future. The narrative is raw, gruesome and emotional at times. The stories of the slaves, the conditions in which they had to live and how they survived despicable masters were sometimes hard to digest. The topic is so sensitive, yet the author has done a wonderful job of not only respecting the characters but dealing very tactfully with the topic.

What brought the story alive and made it even more amazing were the voice actors. They lent their voices to the characters and made them come to life. Tishelle Peterson, Nene Nwoko and Machelle Williams deserve all the kudos they can get for their work. The tone and the cadence of their voices added new weight to the story and reflected the characters. Usually, I don’t prefer to explore a novel by listening to the audiobook, but for this one, I would actually highly recommend my fellow readers to get this audiobook because it will be the best listening time you will ever experience. An exceptional piece of literature!

Sefina Hawke

Trials & Tribulations of Modesty Greene (A Fictional Novel About Harriet Tubman's Historical Legacy) written by DW Plato and narrated by Tishelle Peterson, Nene Nwoko, and Machelle Williams is an audiobook that would appeal most to an audience of historical fiction lovers. Mo’destee Vert was a Senegambian teenager whose entire life was forever altered when her village was attacked and she herself was taken across the ocean to a life of slavery and labeled as Modesty Greene. All Mo’destee Vert wants is her family and her freedom. Unfortunately, freedom remains beyond her reach, but with God’s help, it is the destiny of her descendent Harriet Tubman.

Trials & Tribulations of Modesty Greene by DW Plato is a well-written book with a captivating narrative that pulled me into Mo’destee Vert’s story and sparked my interest in her and her descendent Harriet Tubman. The story was certainly riveting, but it was also saddening, horrifying, and tear-inducing as the author accurately described the lives of the slaves and the cruel masters that kept them as property without mercy. I was so relieved when Harriet Tubman escaped and I could not help feeling joy and suspense as she then returned in order to free others from slavery.

The narrators of this audiobook were Tishelle Peterson, Nene Nwoko, and Machelle Williams. Machelle Williams’ experience from narrating audiobooks like Seven African Powers: The Orishas and The Other Woman clearly shows in her narration of Harriet Tubman. All of the performers were talented in handling their narration pieces in such a way as to cause the reader to become emotionally invested in the characters. The raw emotions that these narrators managed to infuse into the characters were dramatic and truly made the story and the characters come alive as I listened.

Kris Moger

Trials and Tribulations of Modesty Greene by D. W. Plato is the incredible survival story of a young girl. Modesty Greene is on the brink of adulthood, eagerly planning her future. She can’t wait to take her place in her community as a wife and mother, loving her husband and children, and contributing to the daily life of her village in Africa. But an ominous danger threatens her perfect future and the life of everyone around her. Young men are disappearing from the village - taken by slave traders, people willing to sell their own countrymen for their own gains. Modesty’s journey takes place during the height of the slave trade when the lives of black people mean nothing. Yet, in the midst of this horrible reality, Modesty somehow finds the strength to keep going, even finding love and building a foundation for her granddaughter, Harriet Tubman.

In Trials and Tribulations of Modesty Greene, D. W. Plato spares nothing and no one in this fictional portrayal of Harriet Tubman’s family past. This novel swings back and forth from beauty and hope to terror and heartbreaking loss. The characters come alive with an honesty that tears into the heart and soul of the reader, making one face the true horror of slavery. Yet, the author carries hope through, showing the resilience and strength of character it takes to create a better world.

Plato’s writing is wonderful, the quality of the audiobook recording is flawless and clear, and the narration of the story is perfect. All three voice actors - Nene Nwoke, Machelle Williams, and Tishelle Peterson - deliver an engaging and convincing portrayal of Plato’s characters. For me, this book was a ‘wow’ from beginning to end.