Ask a bookseller

Ask a Bookseller: 'River, Sing Me Home'

Yani Rodriguez of Copperfish Books in Punta Gordo, Fla., was quick to share her staff pick with Ask a Bookseller. She loves the historical fiction novel “River, Sing Me Home,” by Eleanor Shearer.

“It's just a tear jerker,” says Rodriguez. “It's a phenomenal book, and I wish more people would pick it up.”

A book cover with a silhouette and birds
"River Sing Me Home," by Eleanor Shearer.
Courtesy of Penguin Random House

It follows the story of Rachel, an enslaved woman living in Barbados in 1834. The story starts right after the Emancipation Act — a moment that should be joyous for the enslaved people living at the Providence plantation.

They quickly learn that, although they have been freed, the plantation owner expects them to work as apprentices for the next six years. Rachel refuses. She runs away the next day in search of her five remaining children who survived birth and were sold away from her.

Her journey takes her from Barbados to British Guiana to Trinidad; the people she encounters become part of her story as she seeks to discover and reconnect with her family.

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