The Indigo Girl: A Novel

The Indigo Girl: A Novel

by Natasha Boyd

Audio CD(Unabridged)

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The year is 1739. Eliza Lucas is sixteen years old when her father leaves her in charge of their family’s three plantations in rural South Carolina and then proceeds to bleed the estates dry in pursuit of his military ambitions. Tensions with the British, and with the Spanish in Florida, just a short way down the coast, are rising, and slaves are starting to become restless. Her mother wants nothing more than for their South Carolina endeavor to fail so they can go back to England. Soon her family is in danger of losing everything.

Upon hearing how much the French pay for indigo dye, Eliza believes it’s the key to their salvation. But everyone tells her it’s impossible, and no one will share the secret to making it. Thwarted at nearly every turn, even by her own family, Eliza finds that her only allies are an aging horticulturalist, an older and married gentleman lawyer, and a slave with whom she strikes a dangerous deal: teach her the intricate thousand-year-old secret process of making indigo dye and in return—against the laws of the day—she will teach the slaves to read.

So begins an incredible story of love, dangerous and hidden friendships, ambition, betrayal, and sacrifice.

Based on historical documents, including Eliza’s letters, this is a historical fiction account of how a teenage girl produced indigo dye, which became one of the largest exports out of South Carolina, an export that laid the foundation for the incredible wealth of several Southern families who still live on today. Although largely overlooked by historians, the accomplishments of Eliza Lucas influenced the course of US history. When she passed away in 1793, President George Washington served as a pallbearer at her funeral.

This book is set between 1739 and 1744, with romance, intrigue, forbidden friendships, and political and financial threats weaving together to form the story of a remarkable young woman whose actions were before their time: the story of the indigo girl.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781455137183
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Publication date: 10/03/2017
Edition description: Unabridged
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 5.70(h) x (d)

About the Author

Natasha Boyd is an internationally bestselling and award-winning author of contemporary romantic Southern fiction and historical fiction. She holds a bachelor of science in psychology and also has a background in marketing and public relations. After hearing one of Eliza’s descendants speaking about Eliza’s accomplishments, the need to tell her story became so overwhelming that it couldn’t be ignored. Hence, The Indigo Girl was born. Boyd also started an Instagram account to document the research she accumulated; visit @eliza.the_indigo_girl for more information.

Table of Contents

Prologue123456789101112131415161718192021222324252226272829303132333435363738394041424344EpilogueAfterwordA Note from the Author

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The Indigo Girl 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous 10 months ago
Excellent book.. didnt want it to end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoy books with historical significance. Being a SC native, it was intriguing to learn about Eliza Lucas Pinckney and the impact she had on our state through reading the Indigo Girl. I’d highly recommend it.
gaele More than 1 year ago
AudioBook Review: Stars: Overall 5 Narration 5 Story 5 Taking the period of 1739 through 1744, we are following the story of Eliza Lucas, eldest daughter left to fend for the fortunes of her family as her father has returned to Antigua in hopes of advancement. Three plantations make up the family’s holdings: each run by an overseer to manage the slaves, and each in need of a profitable crop to keep the family afloat. With her two brothers at school, and a mother who is more interested in returning to “civilization” and focused on Eliza’s potential success in the marriage mart, this young woman’s belief in her own abilities to take the reins of the family in her own hands is remarkable. Particularly when, at this time, women are limited in their possibilities and pursuits. It’s never easy for her, but when she uses her own interests in botany, and realizes that Indigo dye is highly prized and paid for by the French, she sets out to learn all she can about the plant, it’s process and the extraction of the pigment. Relying on a family friend and the family lawyer, she begins her investigations, and this takes her into formerly unknown and untrodden areas. Previously unheard of ideas: adequate (near luxurious in comparison) housing for the slaves, schoolrooms, teaching slaves to read, actually seeing them as people who are integral to the process. These were all Eliza. Much to the dismay of her mother and her constant, if eventually ineffective attempts to constrain what she sees as a willful and unmanageable child. Taking information from historic documents and Eliza’s letters, Boyd has brought her to life in a way that bring history alive. From the technical and scientific moments in creating the indigo, to the friendships and struggles that Eliza faced, her compassion and openness mixed with heavy doses of determination and self-awareness turn this story into an engaging and wholly evocative story. Allowing the sights, sounds and personalities to shine. Narration for this story is provided by Saskia Maarleveld, and her voice was perfectly suited to voice Eliza, with crisp enunciation, soft nuances that hinted to her youth, and the clear presentation of her own personality that showed the strength within. Each character was given a distinct tone and pace, with a subtle yet distinct emotional overlay that helped to fix their place in society and the story. Friendships that begin tentatively grow and change in the interactions as the trust is built, and characters that are meant to be ‘difficult’ to engage or empathize with are given that ‘tone’ in her presentation. Adding to the engagement of the text is Maarleveld’s clear appreciation for the text and moments as the unfold: giving readers moments that ebb and flow with the story, keeping the struggles, triumphs and moments alive. I received an AudioBook copy of the title from Blackstone Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
GranbyLibraryBookClub 11 months ago
The Indigo Girl It's the quiet untold stories in history that usually have a greater impact on our daily lives than we might realize. "The Indigo Girl" is a great example of that. The blue dye that we see in our clothes, like in denim, is not easy to obtain and comes from a plant that is not native to America. Natasha Boyd gives us the story of Eliza Lucas and her fight to grow Indigo in America. She was a true revolutionary for not only, but especially women in business, but for plantation owners all over the South. Our book group was fascinated by the botany and agriculture in this novel and excited to learn about this empowering female entrepreneur. However, there was a general disappointment in the story's progression, with most members finding it hard to get into and slow. We felt it will be hard to forget what Miss Lucas did but we highly doubt we will remember the story that went with it.
wjane More than 1 year ago
The Indigo Girl by Natasha Boyd is historical fiction based on the life of Eliza Lucas Pinckney. The story begins when she is sixteen and ends in her twenties during the time she is managing her family properties. It is an inspiring story of a young woman who succeeds despite unbelievable obstacles. I enjoyed the respect Eliza showed others and how she lived her beliefs. Eliza Lucas Pinckney was admired by many during her lifetime and still is today. I hope to read more books about Eliza that the author recommends and more books by this author.
cest More than 1 year ago
3-3.5 STARS! I’m glad that I stuck through reading The Indigo Girl. It was very hard for me to get into the first 25-30% because the story moved rather slowly. What kept me going was knowing that this was based on real life letters from a girl named Eliza whose father left her and her family to fight in the war. Once you pass this hump, the story flies as Boyd takes us on a journey of a sixteen-year-old girl with such fierce drive to prove that she can do what any boy or man can do in this time period—be successful in running her family’s plantations while attempting to produce indigo dye—something not done in rural South Carolina before. I enjoyed living Eliza’s life and seeing her independence and strength of character but most of all seeing how smart and passionate she was to protect her family from losing everything they had worked so hard for. I loved her heart and her protectiveness of the people she loves especially in a time when slavery was so predominant, her heart and love for her people emitted from the pages. I would have loved to see more in regards to her forbidden friendship with Ben and even a peek into what life was like after the ending because while I knew going in that this was not a romance story, the little sneak peeks into the potential of what was shown to us really made my heart happy. I would have liked to spend more time with them. With every book, you have your set of antagonists and boy, did I really dislike those… I don’t want to elaborate any more on this because I think it’s so important to see for yourself how the story and the characters unfold. But a couple of them really made my blood boil! Overall, I enjoyed The Indigo Girl a lot. It was a little slow moving at first but I enjoyed the overall message and theme. Most of all that it is different from the sea of books that are so similar. Knowing that this young girl had the gumption to push forward with her beliefs and who in the end is a big part of history made this story even more powerful because who doesn’t love reading about a strong woman who stands up for what she believes in.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I grew up in South Carolina, and I was pretty sure I knew everything there was to know about South Carolina history. Yet, somehow, I had never heard the story of Eliza Lucas! I am so grateful that was given the opportunity to read this book and learn more about heroine who brought indigo to our state. I really can't say enough good things about this book. It reads much better than many historical fiction novels out there. The details of Eliza's life are so fascinating that you forget you are learning about actual events. A must read! I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.
mweinreich More than 1 year ago
Eliza Lucas is just sixteen years old when her father leaves her in charge of their plantations in rural South Carolina. The year was 1730 when there were both Indian and slave uprisings. Her father returns to Antigua and has great military ambitions also wishing to become the governor of Antigua. He mortgages these plantations, unbeknownst to Eliza, because he is in need of money. Eliza, a strong willed brilliant daughter, resolves to make the plantation she and her family reside on, a success. The way she decides to do so is in the production of indigo. Her mother wishes for her to fail so that the family can return to England so she offers little to no support and actually thwarts Eliza's efforts. Eliza, a botanist at heart, is helped by a neighbor botanist, a gentlemen lawyer, and her slaves who knew the secret of indigo extraction. They strive to make a go of it. Eliza is the epitome of courage and determination. She will get what she wants and entices the slaves to share their indigo secrets by promising to teach them how to read, something that was against the law. She forms hidden attachments to her slaves, spurns those who are against her, and sacrifices everything to make this dream of hers come true. Along the way Eliza is met with many adversities but through the support of a man who she will eventually marry and her slaves who she treats with fairness and concern, she succeeds. Her indomitable spirit at such a young age makes her a woman of that fosters admiration, strength, and resilience. This novel is based on letters from Eliza and other historical documents. Through Eliza, her eventual husband, and the slaves, she is able to lay the foundation for the indigo industry that will eventually become one of the largest exports from South Carolina. It was quite an incredible book to read and enjoy as this little known figure in history came alive in this novel. Incredibly interesting is that no one really has heard of her exploits as she played a major role in the route that US history eventually took. Mentioned in the author's notes was that President George Washington was a pall bearer at her funeral. Eliza was a independent woman hundreds of years before that came into vogue. Her achievements, given that it was 1730's and was a woman need to be both admired and made know so that all women know that no matter what constraints that are placed upon them, having the will and the determination to succeed they will eventually do just that.
CRSK More than 1 year ago
“1739 The Negroes were singing. Light danced over the dark, inky ocean, and I blinked my eyes awake. No ocean. Just the faint blue of a breaking day casting over the white walls of my bedchamber. A dream still clung damp to my bones. Always the same since I was a child. Sometimes threatening. Sometimes euphoric. Breathing in deeply, I fancied the day held the weight of destiny.” Thus begins Natasha Boyd’s The Indigo Girl. This is a story of conspiracy and deception, love and romance, ambition and sacrifice, secret alliances and betrayal, of intimidation and trust. Trust given and trust earned. A story of free men and slaves, of a young women who dared to insist on her right to choose to marry, or not, who dared to assert herself as a woman as competent as the men who tried to intimidate her. A woman who dared to choose her path in life in Colonial-era South Carolina. Eliza Lucas was a woman who dared to be kind to her childhood friend from Antigua; a friend who returns to her life as a slave owned by the man her father has sent to teach her the ways of growing indigo and turning it into dye. This would be a wonderful historical, fictional, story, a story that would inspire many, but what makes this an exceptionally moving and inspirational story is that Eliza Lucas lived and breathed, was a real woman who became known as the woman who changed agriculture in South Carolina. The Indigo Girl. In the South Carolina of old, young sixteen-year-old Eliza Lucas is left in charge of her family’s plantations, her father has left in order to further enhance his position with the military, and has returned to Antigua, leaving Eliza, her mother and her younger sister there. It hasn’t been that long since he brought his wife and daughter to this plot of land seventeen miles outside of Charles Town, six by water originally purchased by her father’s father. Her two brothers are attending school in England, but in a few years, her brother George will be able to take over for her. Eliza has had a formal education in a finishing school in England when she was younger, but she was encouraged from a young age to seek out more knowledge, to read, to follow her inquisitive nature. One of her interests was botany. She has plans, which include a grove of oak trees with an eye to future ships needing the wood, but she is drawn to the indigo plant. She remembers the clothing she saw back in Antigua, and when she sees two women wearing skirts of that same rich blue when in town, she decides to look into growing indigo. A plant notoriously difficult to grow in South Carolina, subject to many failures in growing and many more failures in the process of being turned into dye. Based on an immense amount of research including many historical documents and Eliza Lucas’ own letters—excerpts of some are included in this story—this is the story of a woman who was so highly regarded that, upon her death, George Washington requested to serve as a pallbearer at her funeral. In 1976, a marker commemorating the location where Eliza Lucas planted indigo seeds in 1741 was erected. Many thanks for the ARC provided by Blackstone Publishing
Anonymous More than 1 year ago