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Publisher's Summary

The year is 1739. Eliza Lucas is 16-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 becoming restless. Her mother wants nothing more than for their South Carolina endeavor to fail so they can go back to England. Soon, their family is in danger of losing everything.

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 her only allies in an aging horticulturalist, an older 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 dangerous and hidden friendships, ambition, betrayal, and sacrifice.

Based on historical documents and Eliza Lucas' own letters, this is a historical fiction account of how young Eliza Lucas produced indigo dye, which became one of South Carolina's largest exports, an export that laid the foundation for the incredible wealth of the South. 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, at his own request, served as a pallbearer at her funeral.

This book is set between the years 1739 and 1744, with romance, intrigue, forbidden friendships, and political and financial threats weaving together the story of a remarkable young woman whose actions were far ahead of their time.

©2017 Natasha Boyd (P)2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“Maarleveld characterizes Eliza so well that listeners will feel they know her, and understand her complex emotions and struggles to succeed in a man’s world. Her excellent reading enlivens a large cast…Pacing is spot on.” - Booklist

“….fully transports the listener to a different time and place.” - AudioFile

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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You must read The Indigo Girl

This book was really incredible! I️ live in the area it is based upon, and this book has greatly increased my curiosity of the early history of the area. The author brought the characters to life in such a beautiful way!! I️ felt like I️ went back in time to that era. Her descriptions of the landscape and the plantation life was so interesting. I️ would love to see this book made into a major motion picture!!! It would rival “Gone With The Wind” I️ can’t wait to listen to it again!!! I️ was so sorry for it to end!!

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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amazing

highly recommend. very intuitive historical embellishment of the truth. a story to get lost in.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Wonderful Story

The Indigo Girl is an amazing story! Having just been in the Charleston area made it even better. The story, history, and narration make this one of my all time favorite books. Hope you enjoy it as well.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Very Blah...

Saskia can make any story come to life and she did her best, but this story line was not very interesting. Every turning point was a disappointment. I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Excellent

It takes awhile to get into but it’s worth the wait. Excellent book and excellent narration! I highly recommend.

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Excellent story based on a real young woman

I wish I would have known that the main character, and most others, were based on real people and real events before I started the book. I just thought it was an excellent fictional story based on fictional people until the very end. I was quite pleasantly surprised and wished I had known from the beginning. This was a great story and reading based on a true indigo girl.
Whether you enjoy colonial history, farming, civil rights issues, British etiquette, innocent romance, South Carolina history, fiction or nonfiction, you'll like this book.

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Interesting historical novel

Loved this novel giving the history of Eliza Lucas Pinckney in such an enjoyable story. If you are interested in South Carolina or pre revolutionary history, you will likely enjoy this account of a woman ahead of her time.

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History with an Amazing story

I loved the Indigo Girl as I am drawn to early American history and also the Charleston, and deep south roots. The story is strongly based on the lead character. It forces you to see how reliant families were on teenagers in that era. Today you would have to look very hard to find a 16 y/o that would be able to manage a working plantation and be insightful enough to know a new plan would need to be found to maintain the lives of the family and inhabitants of that plantation.

The characters and story were well developed. Similarities to today's cultural challenges and those experienced in the early 1700's make the story relatable. I was appalled that the father took his military duties before his family, and the mother was too weak to be of any consequence.

It was an excellent read, hard to put down. The narrator was excellent, she kept my attention and helped me to visualize each scene as if I was there with them.

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Loved it.

This was a terrific book. Well written and researched. It depicted what it was like for a bright, intelligent, capable woman in the 1720s and how she managed although she was discounted at every turn. I recommend it highly.

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excellent story about a woman ahead of her time.

after visiting SC I became curious about the girl who developed indigo in the colonies which provided much of the wealth in that area. this story is about that 16 year old girl. it's an excellent book.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-26-18

Slow and Unbelievable

Book was slow and concentrated too much on tenuous imagined relationships. I realise historical fiction requires the author to fill in, but felt that, for example, in the relationship with Ben, the author imagined too much and too far using the sensibilities of a 21st Century mind - not using what should have been an 18th century mind. The author then scampered over much of the rest of her life in a frustrating epilogue! All in all it fell between two stools - neither being a rounded fictional novel, nor achieving historical accuracy despite claims to have used words from collected letters.