Book Jacket

 

rank 333
word count 12966
date submitted 29.06.2012
date updated 29.06.2012
genres: Fiction, Literary Fiction, Historic...
classification: universal
incomplete

SLAVE: Escaping the Chains of Freedom

jacquelinemalcolm@yahoo.co.uk

A novel about Hezekiah Thomas, a freed slave who through a series of events goes against his beliefs to become an owner of slaves.

 

Having gained his longed for freedom, Hezekiah Thomas is faced with making it on his own for the first time in his life, though his wife and child remain the property of his vengeful half-brother, James Thomas IV. But graced with a sharp mind and high intelligence, he soon begins his own business in shoemaking and in time a fateful meeting with black slave trader, Albert Shelton, leads to Hezekiah being contracted by The Crown to supply the boots for the invading English armies. However, in order for him to afford to meet the quantities, he enters into an alliance with Shelton which forces Hezekiah to go against all of his principals to become an owner of slaves, convincing himself that it will give them all the perfect life - one of wealth and freedom. To secure the deal, Shelton requests Ruth, Hezekiah’s only daughter, as security against the loan, through marriage to his son, Adam. But Ruth has plans of her own and begins a love affair with Ezekiel, head slave belonging to Hezekiah, and soon becomes pregnant with his child. When Hezekiah discovers the deception he must find a way to appease Shelton before everything is lost.

 
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tags

1776, african american, american revolution, george washington, historical, history, independence day, king george iii, slave, slave trade, slavery, w...

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51 comments

 

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Seringapatam wrote 369 days ago

Jacqueline. Wow, very strong stuff and so well written. I can guess by reading it you have put a lot of effort in not only the finished product but also the research and planning of this book. Very intelligent and way above my head but I can see that readers of this genre are going to have a field day with it as its put together so well. You have thrown some really good hooks in there at the right time. Well done.
Sean Connolly. British Army on the Rampage. ( B.A.O.R) Please consider me for a read or watch list wont you?? Many thanks. Sean

Blancherose wrote 488 days ago

Jacquline,

After a read like this one we women have so much to be thankful for these days. Going back in your story to a darker time in history where slavery and a misunderstanding of women and their reproductive capabilities. This page turner is a good read for anyone looking for a story they cant put down. Poetic and realistic and interesting blend-yes it works!
Blessings Roslyn
"I Am" Through the Ages

R. Dango wrote 545 days ago

You really have a very strong story here. And superbly written. Gripping read, that remind us of not only the time of slavery, but also the time that divorce was unacceptable, and women were blamed for not getting pregnant. Hat off!

R

patio wrote 557 days ago

I challenge anyone with a better story than this one. I challenge anyone with a story as dark, explosive and gripping as this one. This story left long lasting effects.

A million plus stars. Six isn't enough

Jacqueline Malcolm wrote 563 days ago

Thanks so much for taking the time to review Janet/Helen - yep, I tend to over punctuate - thankfully its now with the editors who are kindly setting this to rights :) - The purpose of the book is to readdress how we perceive slaves and how they were treated. Not all were treated in the same fashion - and the fact that Hezekiah is both slave and son was actually more common than we realize. Hopefully I'll be successful on telling a good story whilst offering another POV on the slave trade. Thanks again :)

A Real Club Review.
A very good story in the making. There are a few punctuation errors which detract a little from the story i.e. in the Prologue - 'The corpse we had both called, Maria.' There should be no comma in this sentence. Also in the Prologue there seems to be overuse of semi-colons and exclamation marks. In the second and third paragraphs there is a tendency to use italics instead of inverted commas to identify dialogue, then to revert to inverted commas, then back to italics. This is annoying when reading. It is also easy to 'miss' dialogue when presented without inverted commas - as in 'I tell him nothing but know I'm lying.'
I also find the position of Zeke in society a little bit cloudy. We are told he is a slave, albeit a slave owned by his own father. Would Zeke (a slave in 1761), address Gloria (the mistress of the house) by her first name, or even at all without being spoken to first? Would he have danced at a Christmas party with 'High Society women' even as entertainment? This somehow does not seem to sit right with the picture painted of Zeke and his wife as slaves.
Apart from the above (only intended as constructive criticism) I enjoyed the story so far, will keep on watchlist and read more when available. Janet

Janet/Helen
The Stranger in my Life

Janet/Helen wrote 563 days ago

A Real Club Review.
A very good story in the making. There are a few punctuation errors which detract a little from the story i.e. in the Prologue - 'The corpse we had both called, Maria.' There should be no comma in this sentence. Also in the Prologue there seems to be overuse of semi-colons and exclamation marks. In the second and third paragraphs there is a tendency to use italics instead of inverted commas to identify dialogue, then to revert to inverted commas, then back to italics. This is annoying when reading. It is also easy to 'miss' dialogue when presented without inverted commas - as in 'I tell him nothing but know I'm lying.'
I also find the position of Zeke in society a little bit cloudy. We are told he is a slave, albeit a slave owned by his own father. Would Zeke (a slave in 1761), address Gloria (the mistress of the house) by her first name, or even at all without being spoken to first? Would he have danced at a Christmas party with 'High Society women' even as entertainment? This somehow does not seem to sit right with the picture painted of Zeke and his wife as slaves.
Apart from the above (only intended as constructive criticism) I enjoyed the story so far, will keep on watchlist and read more when available. Janet

Janet/Helen
The Stranger in my Life

J C Michael wrote 573 days ago

Exceptionally well written there is nothing for me to critique in the first chapter. Never once did I trip over a word, pause to consider the plot, or ponder upon something that I thought could be improved upon. The genre isn't one I would normally read but you seemed to have the balance of story and detail, fiction and factual legitimacy, spot on. All I can say is "well done", and "good luck with wherever this leads you".

James

jlbwye wrote 585 days ago

Slave. An HFG read.
I have no comments to make on the beautiful poetic prose of your Prologue, because I'm enthralled. Ch.1. brings me down to ear th - just a little.
Punctuated by those words 'I must speak to my father,' I am transported into the world of slavery in New York; complicated slavery. You are weaving a good plot.

Ch.2. The present tense intensifies the immediacey of your story.
I'm wondering if James's gambling nights out and his art shouldnt be mentioned before the conversation with their father, rather than as a consequence of it?
A dramatic chapter, but perhaps with too many changes in direction? Maybe some pruning and refining would make it flow more smoothly. Even, thought could be given to dividing it into two chapters? But it's only my opinion, and it's your book.

Ch.3. A great idea, having the Beast from the Prologue lurking in the background all the time. And pray God the baby holds.

I've enjoyed reading your story, with its promising plot. It needs editing and refining, but we all have to do that, over and over.

Jane.

Jacqueline Malcolm wrote 591 days ago

Your writing is very poetic. I like it and you write well, I just don't think it fits with this kind of story. This is an important kind of story to tell so, to me, should be told in a way that every can understand. Not flowery. Your pitch is very good.

Abby



Thanks so much for taking the time to comment on my work, Abby - I'm glad you enjoyed my writing style :). I wasn't trying to be poetic, I write Historical Fiction so it was about getting the rhythm and using the language of NY in 18th Century before America was an independent country and still ruled by England. I love the poetry of old english and I guess I'll be more appealing to that market - hopefully ;) - Thanks again :D

Abby Vandiver wrote 591 days ago

Your writing is very poetic. I like it and you write well, I just don't think it fits with this kind of story. This is an important kind of story to tell so, to me, should be told in a way that every can understand. Not flowery. Your pitch is very good.

Abby

Aba Bairéid wrote 609 days ago

Jacqueline,

Your sister Marva invited me to check out your book. I've only read the prologue and chapter 1, but already I'm happy to give this a thumbs up. The prologue is particularly effective: it 'conditions' the reader for everything coming afterwards. Like all big subjects, slavery has to be given a deeply human dimension in order to be properly explored. From what I've read so far, you've succeeding in that respect. Best of luck with this.

Aba.

Su Dan wrote 613 days ago

fascinating book- interesting idea, great writing style and voice, narrative and dialogue...
BACKED...
read SEASONS

maretha wrote 614 days ago

SLAVE: Escaping the Chains of Freedom/Jacqueline Malcolm
I love historical novels. You build your characters from the start and I enjoyed every word of ch 1. I intend to finish reading everything you've uploaded, but with such a a strong cast of characters, an interesting plot and very good writing, including excellent dialogue I have to rate your story five stars for what I've read up to now. Your book should do well, not just on authonomy, but also on Amezon, and ultimately in paper! :-)
All the best in the days ahead.
Maretha/African Adventures of Flame, Family, Furry and Feathered Friends

Nigel Fields wrote 617 days ago

Jacqueline,
In very short order, I gained a high regard for your writing—pert near immediately! Due to your approach, I could understand Zeke quite quickly as the initial scene unfolded gradually, bit by bit. Your pace is ideal. Love the narrative voice you chose, love the tone. Chapters 2 and 3 keep us JUST AS focused. Kudos. I felt as if I were peering into each vivid scene. From your pitch I realize the plot will thicken, and I am eager to read the rest, but, alas, I’ll have to wait. Highly starred.
All the best,
John B. Campbell (A Lark Ascending)

Elizabeth Buhmann wrote 617 days ago

Jacqueline, this is very impressive! I am holding my breath as Zeke pushes the door without knocking! Your characters, all well drawn, all evoke strong feelings -- sympathy with Betsy (except I am so worried about what's going to happen), admiration for Zeke (but again I'm worried that this man is too proud and that he will be struck down by his "owners"). Gloria is positively sinister, and James, being a lesser man and maybe also cowardly, strikes me as dangerous. It's the father that I haven't got the measure of yet. In some ways he seems okay, but he is bound by his belief in a slave system.

Anyway, you have the gift of creating a vibrant story, for sure. Conflict, emotion, suspense -- you've built it all very quickly and surely. I am not only anxious to now what will happen to Zeke and Betsy -- I also want to know what James did in the prologue.

Excellent story, high stars and watch list. Best of luck with this, and I will read more.

Elizabeth Buhmann, The Made-Up Man

Chris Whitson wrote 620 days ago

Wow! Jacqueline, what a wonderful piece! Your writing style is very unique and refreshing to me. I'm so dissapointed that an error on the site occurred and I cannot read past chapter1. My appetitte is soaking and they pulled your tasty feast away.
The prologue was extremely gripping and I knew I was in for a special read. I found the Beast to be eerily breathtaking and forceful. "....the Beast must have his day..." Simply terrific!
The characters are beautifully thought out. Your mysterious and secretive touch were much appreciated. Everything about this is so well done it puts me at a loss for words that would do this story justice.
Chapter 1 contains the most impressive and unique family dynamics I have seen thus far on this site. The descriptions of time, setting, and situations are superb. Your talent is shinig and your story is about to explode into the heavens. My anticipation was at an all time high. I will definitely be back for more. Excellent, just Excellent!!!
It is my pleaslure to give 6 stars and WL for future support of this intiguing story. Masterfully done!
Best wishes.
Chris/ A SPICY HURRICANE

donkeyjacket wrote 622 days ago

Jacqueline/

I have been fortunate recently to have read some mss on this site that smack of enormous promise – and yours stand high among them. Your style is lyrical. Sometimes the poet in me makes me suspicious of a style such as yours, wondering if I am not being served up with a dose of something that is too clever by half – say like in ‘the King’s Magic Suit’.

But I couldn’t fault it – save only that I would have had it compressed just a little, moving the story on a little faster. But then I am an impatient man who does nothing slowly. Even still there were not so many lines in these three chapters that I skimmed.

The painstaking research was evident – and, unlike me who makes it up and writes from the hip then checks the facts afterwards, I can well believe that you had it all at your fingertips before you sat down to pen the first word.

The plot intrigues (never let them persuade you to take out the prologue because it creates that intrigue); the style intrigues and the detail intrigues – but perhaps, overall, a little less is more?

However the potential, in anticipation, earns an above average rating and a place on the shelf.

AJB

Pamela Crabtree wrote 623 days ago

Dear Jaquueline, I've just read your three chapters- brilliant! I was hooked in by 'The Beast', the staccato passages and page layout are so successful, using the writing form to emphasise important points works so well, as in: ' No not her, and again, 'Nothing more nothing less. Just his slave.' Your descriptions are just superb and your use of repitition, as here,: ' Everthing will belong to her, including Betsy! including me! including our child.' The description of James, here: ' James wipes his hands on his trousers; his sweaty, greedy hands.' says it all.
I can't wait to read the rest, the questions of social divides are favourite themes in my own writing.
I love your start and can't wait to read on. I've given you six stars and put you on my watchlist Would you like to be a friend?
Kind Regards, Pamela Crabtree. [The Severed Cord.]

Pamela Crabtree wrote 623 days ago

Dear Jaquueline, I've just read your three chapters- brilliant! I was hooked in by 'The Beast', the staccato passages and page layout are so successful, using the writing form to emphasise important points works so well, as in: ' No not her, and again, 'Nothing more nothing less. Just his slave.' Your descriptions are just superb and your use of repitition, as here,: ' Everthing will belong to her, including Betsy! including me! including our child.' The description of James, here: ' James wipes his hands on his trousers; his sweaty, greedy hands.' says it all.
I can't wait to read the rest, the questions of social divides are favourite themes in my own writing.
I love your start and can't wait to read on. I've given you six stars and put you on my watchlist Would you like to be a friend?
Kind Regards, Pamela Crabtree. [The Severed Cord.]

Jacqueline Malcolm wrote 623 days ago

Jacqueline,
Allow me to congratulate you on an outstanding piece of writing. I read all three chapters and if this is not published ...well it will be an awful shame. Have you sent proposals out?
The first thing that struck me is how i instantly felt for Hezekiah and Betsy...I'm guessing that the old General will die and then H & B will be left to the mercy of James (the rivalry here is excellent) and his bigotted wife , Gloria.
I'm assuming you've researched this to a high standard - it's not a subject that i'm familiar with. Would the General have educated Hezekiah at all, taught him dancing etc ???
I cant wait for you to post more and I thouroughly enjoyed this. I would buy it tomorrow AJB xxx



Thank you sooo much - just to quickly answer your questions; yes, I researched this for 6 months before I started writing. I purposefully wanted to show the 'other side' to the slave trade as in those slaves that weren't abused as we know of the abuse of slaves in the south. This book, though fictional, shows what it was like for freed slaves (a hint at where the story goes) and those black people (or should I say African American's) who weren't slaves at all but were actually traders!! it's a fascinating story - I hope I did all my research some justice - thanks again for the lovely comments :)

GOTHIC-PAGE-TURNER wrote 624 days ago

Jacqueline,
Allow me to congratulate you on an outstanding piece of writing. I read all three chapters and if this is not published ...well it will be an awful shame. Have you sent proposals out?
The first thing that struck me is how i instantly felt for Hezekiah and Betsy...I'm guessing that the old General will die and then H & B will be left to the mercy of James (the rivalry here is excellent) and his bigotted wife , Gloria.
I'm assuming you've researched this to a high standard - it's not a subject that i'm familiar with. Would the General have educated Hezekiah at all, taught him dancing etc ???
I cant wait for you to post more and I thouroughly enjoyed this. I would buy it tomorrow AJB xxx

JMF wrote 624 days ago

I have read all three chapters of this and thoroughly enjoyed the read. I like your writing style and the use of the first person works well. I would like more detail of their slave life and how that compares with the lives of other slaves (they clearly live a more privileged life than most). At times it doesn't seem bad enough and I'm sure that is not how it is supposed to come across! But perhaps more detail will be forthcoming in later chapters.
This is obviously going to be a gripping family saga, told from the slave point of view, so this is an original idea. Well done. I shall star highly and I look forward to reading more if you decide to upload further chapters.
A couple of nitpicks:
Ch 1
'not baring to come second' should be bearing.
And again in Ch 2 'a child will be born baring' should be 'bearing'?
All the best with this.
Julia
Shadow Jumper

Margaret Anthony wrote 625 days ago

I've read all that is posted and would have willingly read more.The writing style is unusal and original, but that makes it all the more special. There is so much darkness here; slavery itself, the situation existing within the family, what the future may hold, but it is so subtle and compels me to keep on reading.
Beautifully set up, this promises to be a strong and interesting book. Starred and on my shelf. Margaret.

Jacqueline Malcolm wrote 625 days ago

Hello,
I have just read the first chapter and have to say that I enjoyed the read very much. It has been a long time since I read this kind of story, but it felt smooth and familiar, qualities I enjoy in a book. One thing I was a little confused about: is James mixed like Zeke; do they have the same mother? I wasn't clear why he is not considered a slave when Zeke is? Otherwise, this is a great start to your book and I am looking forward to reading more.

Best,
Dyane
The Purple Morrow



Hey Dyane - thanks soooo much for reviewing my work and I'm glad you enjoyed it so far. To answer your question, Hezekiah and James share the same father but different mothers. James is the son of the Generals wife and Hezekiah is the son of the General's mistress. I delve much more into the stories of the two women in the third book of this trilogy so you get to understand how the brothers are actually taught to hate just because of their places in society. I think its an intriguing story - just hope I get enough people to agree with me - heehee - thanks again, Jac :)

Elayne wrote 626 days ago

A powerful opening to a story that is both intriguing and infuriating....in the best possible way. It would be difficult not to feel Zeke's frustrations.

Perhaps a little editing is needed in ch 2 it seems to drag the pace set by other chapters.

And occasionally you have used the word 'bare' instead of 'bear' as in carrying a weight

The first person narrative is ok by me, I can read it just as well as any other.

You have set up the characterisations well, although there are not many redeeming features. You hint at the past and then we discover part of why the brothers hate each other. I don't know how slaves were treated in NewYork at that time, but it does seem fairly at odds that on occasions Zeke is treated as a son whilst the rest of the time nothing more than a slave. I also wonder about Zeke's education, that must have been a trying time being the only black person in a school whose students were only familiar with black people being slaves. I guess this might be delved into later?
A good piece of work that I would certainly like to read more of.

Elayne wrote 626 days ago

A powerful opening to a story that is both intriguing and infuriating....in the best possible way. It would be difficult not to feel Zeke's frustrations.

Perhaps a little editing is needed in ch 2 it seems to drag the pace set by other chapters.

And occasionally you have used the word 'bare' instead of 'bear' as in carrying a weight

The first person narrative is ok by me, I can read it just as well as any other.

You have set up the characterisations well, although there are not many redeeming features. You hint at the past and then we discover part of why the brothers hate each other. I don't know how slaves were treated in NewYork at that time, but it does seem fairly at odds that on occasions Zeke is treated as a son whilst the rest of the time nothing more than a slave. I also wonder about Zeke's education, that must have been a trying time being the only black person in a school whose students were only familiar with black people being slaves. I guess this might be delved into later?
A good piece of work that I would certainly like to read more of.

Patty Apostolides wrote 627 days ago

Beautiful, beautiful story! The beginning was powerful, and caught my attention.

Well crafted, poignant moments, touching and dramatic, and the pace was good. Dialogue was plentiful and it helped move the story forward.

I only had one suggestion - since the beginning begins with the two brothers battling, I presume there is hatred toward one another. When they are older and Hezekiah has James doing a favor for him, that wasn't consistent, given the hatred shown in the scene before..

Good luck in your writing!!

Lenny Banks wrote 627 days ago

Hi Jacqueline, I read chapter 3. Wow, this Is like nothing else I have seen on the site before. I still felt a little like like a screen play, but that gave it its USP. The characters appear to have walked out of a period drama off the tv or a film. It probbaly isn't one fo the pieces I would re-visit myself, but that isn't to say there aren't others who will really enjoy it. I hope you do well with it because it is different.

Kindest Regards and Best Wishes
Lenny Banks - Tide and Time: At The Rock
Any chance of a return read, when you have a chance?

Charlotte12 wrote 627 days ago

Hello,
I have just read the first chapter and have to say that I enjoyed the read very much. It has been a long time since I read this kind of story, but it felt smooth and familiar, qualities I enjoy in a book. One thing I was a little confused about: is James mixed like Zeke; do they have the same mother? I wasn't clear why he is not considered a slave when Zeke is? Otherwise, this is a great start to your book and I am looking forward to reading more.

Best,
Dyane
The Purple Morrow

R.H. Ramsey wrote 629 days ago

I enjoyed this. I love dialogue, it is probably my favorite part of writing as well as reading. Your character had me drawn in from the beginning. Even though I don't generally read this genre, you have really opened my eyes/interests, and I can't wait to read more.

K E Shaw wrote 629 days ago

Hi Jacqueline,
I'm here for the read swop I promised - thought I'd go first, since I made the request :) I enjoy historical fiction, and found the premise intriguing - a slave whose master is his father. The 1st person POV works well for this. The prologue really captured my attention with the description of the beast within, and in chp1 I enjoyed the mini-portraits of the various characters - brother James,and his rather unpleasant wife, Gloria - as well as further insight into Hezekiah and Betsy. The development of their characters and conflicts has been very well done.

One thing that left me wondering - given the 18th century (1760's) setting, I kept finding myself wondering about the dancing scene. I understand that Zeke is the General's son, but he is a slave, and I had the impression his mother was a slave too? It just struck me as highly improbable that his father, brother and the clearly snobbish Gloria - let alone his fathers 'society' guests - would even acknowledge a slave, let alone dance with him in public (even in a private house at a party for guests). I have never heard of this before - wasn't that a big no-no in that era? I gather the ladies wanting to dance are not black slaves - and with James blonde hair, we are told he and his father are white. I'm pretty certain that white ladies of that era would never have engaged in any interaction with a slave (even if his father was a white man) other than to give him orders. Could be wrong - are there some references you could point me to?

Otherwise, I found the tale very engaging.

A few niggles on punctuation. Several times you ended a setence with a semi-colon ; instead of a full stop. Lose all but one of your exclamation marks. The first one in the prologue was fine, every other one should go. Several don't fit at all with their placement, the rest are unnecessary as the story is already speaking for itself, and they distract the eye from the flow of the narrative

D.J.Milne wrote 633 days ago

Hi Jacqueline
I have read the first two chapters and really enjoyed them. Your style in the first person is very engaging and you begin to paint a good picture of Life for Hezekiah in New York and the relationship between his master father and his brother James. The characters of Gloria and Betsy are introduced with a nice pace and you give a realistic feel to them. The news of Betsy being four months pregnant and hose this creates a rivalry with James is that kind of Kane and Able plot line that works well. The end of chapter two with Glory' s fury is a lovely hook into Chapter three.
All in all a nice start and I have highly starred it and will keep it on my watch list. Let me know when you upload more.
Good luck
David (D.J)
The Ghost Shirt

russellb wrote 634 days ago

Great story - writing in the first person does take a while to get used to but chapter 3 really hooked me in!

Nick Santa Rosa wrote 634 days ago

Not my normal subject/topic but, once I got into the POV I found the story easy to follow. Only criticism is the language seems too formal, even for an educated slave of that era. Still, not being familiar with educations levels of the time, I could be wrong. Generally, it seems, at least from this point, well thought out and with a clear direction. Best of luck with it.

Petite wrote 634 days ago

Hey Jac,

I really enjoyed reading this book. You are an excellent writer with great imagination and vision. I was able to visualise the characters as I was reading. I particularly loved reading in 'first person' as the storyline draws you in to how the character is thinking and feeling.

I have recently become interested in Negro Spiritual songs, so reading this book was of great interest to me.

As you know I have always been a big fan of yours, so I know what you are capable of. You go girl..!!!
Maureen x

Jacqueline Malcolm wrote 634 days ago

Sorry but i found myself missing sentences then paragraphs as I tried to get to a storyline. I just need more chapters. Maybe then i can enjoy reading it.
Pat



Thanks for your comment, Pat. I guess because I'm writing in first person you're with the character as its happening so the story will only unfold as it goes along. Sincerely sorry you didn't enjoy it - I accept that I'm not going to be to everyone's taste - Jac :)

Eftborin wrote 634 days ago

Sorry but i found myself missing sentences then paragraphs as I tried to get to a storyline. I just need more chapters. Maybe then i can enjoy reading it.
Pat

Jacqueline Malcolm wrote 635 days ago

SOrry it took me so long; went up to Lake Michigan and haven't had internet access. Started reading you book and am really enjoying it. Good storyline and strong writing. you do a great job of describing your characters. wlisted for more later. many stars...
suggest: adding - between twenty and two...
Have you written any more of this stroy?



thanks so much for the comment - yes, the book is actually complete. I just wanted to upload enough so that people can get a feel for the work - if I can't grab someones attention in 3 chapters then I won't in 20!!! ;)

DWBrown wrote 636 days ago

SOrry it took me so long; went up to Lake Michigan and haven't had internet access. Started reading you book and am really enjoying it. Good storyline and strong writing. you do a great job of describing your characters. wlisted for more later. many stars...
suggest: adding - between twenty and two...
Have you written any more of this stroy?

Emma.L.H. wrote 636 days ago

Hello, Jac, here for our read swap. First off, great job with writing this so well in first person. I struggle with this. I think you've done a really good job with this. I skipped the prologue and went straight to chapter one; I'm not a fan of prologues and don't really think they're needed (just my opinion!) Your characters are believable and the dialogue is good. You've got a very interesting premise here and I think this book would appeal to a large number of readers; I'm particularly interested in this time period.

As we are all here to help one another, I'll point out a few nit picks; use them as you will:

The main thing I noticed, there are way too many semi-colons. Cut back on them/replace some with commas or full stops.

Also, some words need hyphenating: grey-black soot; brown-skinned, brown-haired, green-eyed, etc.

When compiling a list, it should be : not ; (...added to my already overcrowded list: I mustn't forget the firewood...)

Other than the issues mentioned above, this is very well written and I thoroughly enjoyed reading your work.

High stars and I'll be popping back to see if you've uploaded any more chapters :-) All the best with this, well done.

R.E. Ader wrote 638 days ago

I don't like reading first person, but you have done a masterful job with this.

RMAWriteNow wrote 640 days ago

Hi Jacqueline; I have read your prologue and first chapter here. It is rare to read two such contrasting chapters in a row but this really worked well. The prologue with its reference to the beast within, and without as it happens, is captivating from the start. Because you write so well I actually found it quite disturbing such was the violent nature of the actions in it. This did work well though and really held the interest of the reader.
Moving on to chapter one and an a completely different tone is employed. The historical element of the book is clearly visible but only so as to set the scene with its vivid depiction of the life of the main characters. The chapter soothes and caresses the required character information out of the scenes and is utterly believable. Well paced and flowing throughout, the underlying feel that the Beast may soon make another appearance keeps the reader enthralled.
High Stars
RMA
The Snow Lily

SteveSeven wrote 641 days ago

Hello Jacqueline,

This is a great story that catches th ereader from the prologue. What a great hook; 'I havbe a beast!' Who could#t carry on reading after that? I love the way you use such colorful language to describe inner experiences. i especially like the line; 'The strong odor...stroking my nostrils'.
Your character development is also strong and the tension in the second chapter between Hezekiah and his son is very well choreographed. It is good to start from a subtle beginning and then slowly into more serious tensions by the son having 'no head for buisness' just when he is needed most.
I also like the way that you give some of the family history in the talk about choosing babies names This is a clever way to paint in the background while still maintaining the reader in the current situation.
All in all a great story with clever and colorful uses of imagery and language.
Well done. Steve

Big Daddy wrote 642 days ago

an excellent work, well set in its period, thought out with an idea to the dramatic development of plot and characters and with that cinematic visualisation I love in a book.

SurNuage9 wrote 643 days ago

As the mother of two young children sometimes it is difficult for me to find the time (or the energy!) to sit down and read a book. However, from the moment I began the prologue I was hooked! Ms. Malcolm's style immediately drew me in, I wanted to know more...I needed to know more! You will not be disappointed with this story!

Marva G wrote 646 days ago

I must start with a confession that Jac is my sister and there will be a level of bias involved. HOWEVER, I have read Slave: Escaping the Chains of Freedom twice and was unable to put it down on either occasion. As a lover of words and the weaving of them, there were so many phrases that caused me to stop, re-read, re-read aloud, quote and blog. Jacqueline is a master of character development and creating believable drama.

Antonius Metalogos wrote 649 days ago

I'm enthralled! Ms. J. Malcolm has written what surely will be recognized as a classic piece of literature in a hundred years from now. This is the kind of book that can stand alongside a Dicken's tale or a work of Dostoevsky and not blush. Tolstoy also comes to mind! Absolutely captivating!
The protagonist is a classic hero. Strong, handsome, intelligent, keenly observant of his inner self, good-hearted but hung with the cruel fate of being born a mulatto slave, son of a white man's black mistress in eighteenth century New York. He has lost his dear mother and blames his whiter brother for her death. The hatred he feels for his older brother releases a raging anger in him which is as violent as any monster ever was and this sets up a terrific tension for the opening of the story.
The first chapter rings true like a well made bell. The development of the story follows the protagonist's day as he awakens next to his beloved wife, another slave, and then goes about his duties through the large house where all the action of chapter one takes place. His observations and interactions with those he meets manage to sketch out the inner workings of the household and to set up the drama that is about to take place later in the day, Christmas Day. There is just enough information given throughout the chapter for the reader to understand what is going on and to see that the hero is poised for greatness and yet tragically drawn to destruction. Yes, this is absolutely first class storytelling! Bravo! Backed with the greatest pleasure and fully starred.

Adam Thurstman wrote 649 days ago

This was a most enjoyable read, very well written and very realistic, I liked the way Jacqueline uses first person POV of Hezekiah and tells the story through his eyes and felt I could conect with him easily. I really like the historical references and feel put into the story. I think this book will do very well and wish Jacqueline all the very best with it.

Adam Thurstman
Israel

Debbie R wrote 653 days ago

I have really enjoyed reading this. The Prologue is full of powerful stuff. It is well-written, has lots of action and introduces us to The Beast.
Chapter one contrasts perfectly in style and pace to the Prologue. We have moved on a year and hear that Heze and Betsy are expecting a baby.
You write very well and your characters are believable, as is the dialogue. I like the way historical element sits so comfortably amongst the characters and in the dialogue.
There is the undercurrent that The Beast may make an appearance again which adds tension, as does Heze attempts to tell his father about the baby.

This should do very well on the site and I am starring it highly.

Debbie
'Speedy McCready'

femmefranglaise wrote 654 days ago

Hi Jaqueline, this is powerful stuff. A great opening, full of unanswered questions that keep the reader hooked. What did Jamie do? Your narrative voice is strong and consistent and your dialogue is good and sounds authentic to the reader. I would dispense with some of the exclamation marks though as they take away from the flow of the narrative. For example, when you say 'Gloria!' and 'I'll go!' There aren't needed in either of these instances. There are a couple of missing commas, which are quite common, goodness knows, I had enough of them myself.

This is a really excellent start and I look forward to coming back and reading more. Lots of stars for you.

Melanie
La Vie en Rosé

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