Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyHarper's Iola Leroy is a classic of 19th-century African American women's fiction. These three recently excavated short novels add depth and historical perspective to her legacy, while displaying new facets of her inspirational voice. Writing about the injustices of slavery and the difficulties faced by black women after the Civil War, Harper combines the clean, elegant style of Austen and Bronte with a powerful talent for social advocacy. Minnie's Sacrifice (1869) is the best of the three, dissecting the difficult choices faced by a light-skinned husband and wife when they learn, after having been raised as white, that their veins run with African American blood. Sowing and Reaping (1876-1877) is less ambiguous; a product of the temperance movement, it offers a sternly moralistic look at the evils of John Barleycorn. The weakest entry is Trial and Triumph (1888-1889), which presents a series of simple, right-or-wrong tales about postwar racial blending that reads like a barely stitched-together collection of short stories. While there is some excellent writing here, Harper's story construction is stilted, and the occasional missing chapter disrupts continuity (the narratives are incomplete because their only prior publication was in serial form, in poorly kept copies of a 19th-century African American periodical, The Christian Register ). Despite these flaws, Harper's trilogy represents a historical breakthrough and a worthy addition to the literature of the period. (June)
Library JournalThese three 19th-century novels were recently rediscovered by scholar Foster while researching the African American author's life and career. Originally serialized in the Christian Recorder between 1868 and 1888, these pioneering novels championed the cause of African American equality and rights. An important find, this combined volume is essential for all public and academic library collections.
BooknewsThis volume compiles the Christian Recorder's serializations of three novels written by African-American writer Frances Harper. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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