In a searing historical novel, Tonya Bolden illuminates post-Reconstruction America in an intimate portrait of a determined young woman who dares to seize the opportunity of a lifetime.
As a young black woman in 1880s Savannah, Essie's dreams are very much at odds with her reality. Ashamed of her beginnings, but unwilling to accept the path currently available to her, Essie is trapped between the life she has and the life she wants.
Until she meets a lady named Dorcas Vashon, the richest and most cultured black woman she's ever encountered. When Dorcas makes Essie an offer she can't refuse, she becomes Victoria. Transformed by a fine wardrobe, a classic education, and the rules of etiquette, Victoria is soon welcomed in the upper echelons of black society in Washington, D. C. But when the life she desires is finally within her grasp, Victoria must decide how much of herself she is truly willing to surrender.
Tonya Bolden is a critically acclaimed award-winning author/co-author/editor of more than two dozen books for young people. They include Finding Family which received two starred reviews and was a Kirkus Reviewsand Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year; Maritcha: A Nineteenth-Century American Girl, a Coretta Scott King honor book and James Madison Book Award winner; MLK: Journey of a King, winner of a National Council of Teachers of English Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children; Emancipation Proclamation: Lincoln and the Dawn of Liberty, an ALSC Notable Children's Book, CBC/NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People, and winner of the NCSS Carter G. Woodson Middle Level Book Award. Tonya also received the Children's Book Guild of Washington, DC's Nonfiction Award. A Princeton University magna cum laude baccalaureate with a master's degree from Columbia University, Tonya lives in New York City.
“Poetic, breathtaking, descriptive and fast-paced. . . . An excellent choice for YA historical fiction shelves.” —School Library Journal, starred review
“Seamlessly weaves aspects of black history into the detailed narrative. . . . Victoria emerges as a fully realized character, a product of all her experiences. The depiction of Washington, D.C.'s African-American elite is rich and complex . . . A compelling and significant novel.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Bolden captures the period with meticulous detail. Appearances by prominent African American luminaries of the era . . . extend the authenticity of this engrossing coming-of-age story.” —The Horn Book Magazine
“Seeks to illuminate 'an often-neglected aspect of black history: the black middle class and black aristocracy of the past.' The rich descriptions of people and life in early America will fascinate readers as the book introduces them to this widely overlooked population in history.” —Booklist
“Richly layered. . . . Bolden offers a compelling, complex look at the African-American social elite. . . . Though romance beckons, the true star here is Victoria herself.” —Publishers Weekly
“Offers up portraits of the African-American speakers and activists who were fighting against the rising racial animus. Through Essie's journeys and experiences, readers get a primer in . . . prominent historical figures and events.” —BCCB
"Bolden shines a light into a part of history rarely seen . . . A must for YA collections." - School Library Connection
"Bolden has created a sweeping and exhilarating story of a teen girl filled with hope and perseverance. . . . A truly unique and necessary addition to the genre." - BookPage
“Readers will fall in love with Bolden's gentle lyricism as she unflinchingly unfolds a difficult story.” —Shelf Awareness, starred review, on CROSSING EBENEZER CREEK
“Bolden . . . bravely concludes this concise, moving story with a historically accurate and horrifying ending.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review, on CROSSING EBENEZER CREEK
“The well-executed premise, a compelling love story, and unique historical details will appeal to fans of Ruta Sepetys's Salt to the Sea . . . This moving and engrossing portrayal of a little-known historical tragedy belongs on all YA shelves.” —School Library Journal, starred review, on CROSSING EBENEZER CREEK
“A poetic, raw, and extraordinary imagining of a little-known, shameful chapter in American history.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review, on CROSSING EBENEZER CREEK
“With keen insight, Bolden mines a lesser-known historical event and brings the human cost vividly to life . . . Bolden's trenchant, powerful novel is a strong testament to the many lost lives that certainly did--and still do--matter.” —Booklist, starred review, on CROSSING EBENEZER CREEK