Winner, Silver Medal, IPPY AWARDS (Regional Fiction)
Elizabeth’s Field captures the realities of pre-Civil War life on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and creates characters that struggle in extraordinary adversity. Lockhart traces the branches of several generations of black families, their histories merging, the memories of their grandparents’ miseries fading yet not forgotten. Her carefully limned descriptions of the land – the profusion of flora and the turning of the seasons – are masterful. Through fully rounded characters and lyrical prose, Lockhart’s novel teaches some hard lessons about man’s inhumanity to man.
Kathryn Lang, former editor at Southern Methodist University Press
The characters in Elizabeth’s Field are clearly defined and the environment carefully re-created so that we feel we are indeed stepping into the past, actually viewing people behind the gauze curtains of long ago. Weaving the present with the past, Lockhart brings us face-to-face with how slavery has continued to impact people on the Shore. Elizabeth’s Field is a thoroughly readable work, thought-provoking and well-written.
G. Ray Thompson, PhD, professor of history emeritus and former director, The Nabb Center, Salisbury University
Elizabeth's Field is the story of the free black population living on Maryland's Eastern Shore in a county known for being the birthplace of Harriet Tubman. Elizabeth, a free woman of Indian and African-American descent, owns land in 1852 and loses it in 1857. Her struggle to hold onto the land and her connection with Sam Green, the local minister who is sentenced to ten years imprisonment for owning a copy of Uncle Tom's Cabin, attest to the turmoil existing within Maryland's borders.
Mattie, the present-day farm worker on whose oral history the novel is based, searches for answers to her genealogical history. As she tells the story of her life, she reveals the societal and agricultural changes that occurred on the same land that was Elizabeth's field one hundred and fifty years before.
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About the Author
Elizabeth's Field won a silver medal in the Independent Book Publishers Award for Regional Fiction, and her previous collection of short stories, The Night is Young, won a Finalist position in the National Indie Excellence Awards.
With lyrical prose, Lockhart captures the flavor of the land and the people, ordinary folk living in small towns and on farms in both the present era and in pre-Civil War history. She has an MFA degree in Creative Writing from Vermont College. Through lectures, readings, and book discussion groups, Lockhart's interest has been to explore Shore life and history, while recognizing and honoring the humanity that links us all.
Table of Contents
Mairie, 2000 5
The Burton Household, 1844 24
Mattie, 2000 62
The Language of the Fields, 1850 69
Libby, 1850 74
The Fire, 1852 82
A Bargain Kept, 1852 91
Mattie, 2000 97
Addy's Journey 101
A Will and a Way, 1854 123
Mattie, 2000 137
Currents, 1855 143
The Alpha and Omega Seasons, 1856 155
Wheels of Change 171
Mattie, 2000 182
Preacher Green and the Borrowed Book, 1857 186
Aftermath, Spring, 1857 201
Inside the Walls, Fall, 1857 211
Elizabeth in Rain and Snow 215
Mattie, 2000 226
Deliverance, March, 1862 230
Mattie, 2000 235
Family Tree 241