If you’ve seen the movie, Jefferson in Paris, you’ll know the story of American President Thomas Jefferson and his slave Sally Hemmings.
The novel tells their story through the eyes of their chidren. While Beverly, Harriet, Madison and Eston are all Jefferson’s children, through Sally they were also 7/8 white. Two of the children are lighter skinned and could pass as ‘white’ but the other two are darker. Despite Sally reassuring them that they will get ‘lighter as they get older’ , it is pretty clear to them that they will never be accepted into white society.
Brubaker-Bradley comments in the afterward, that the book is based on ‘complicated’ historical fact. The link to Monticell.org provides a fascinating look at the past and present of the plantation and its’ owner.
The story is very readable and provides a clear insight into life of a slave, with a famous master for a father.