Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Publisher: Doubleday
Release Date: December 24,2002
ISBN: 0385503237
Format Reviewed: Hardback
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Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Reviewed: 2003
Reviewer: Sharon Hudson
Reviewer Notes:

Sapphire's Grave
By Hilda Gurley-Highgate  

     A freshman work of art best describes this debut by author Hilda Gurley-Highgate. The writing in the book impressed me, more so than the content of the story. Sapphire's Grave put me in the mind of writings by Toni Morrison in that you have to sit back with your cup of hot tea and read for pure enjoyment, understanding will most likely occur in your quiet time of reflection.

     Sapphire was so named for the rich blue-black color of her skin. Her mother was snatched and transported from her home on a slave ship. This did nothing to break her spirit, dignity or her personal resolve during the journey. Sapphire was sold as a slave at the age of 5 and the propagation of horrific acts was passed on to her and her descendants. What was done to her during the journey and her life as a slave was done to her body, not her spirit. It was this dignity that was passed down through her descendants and that made Sapphire's Grave never her final resting place.

     The last of Sapphire's children to be born a slave was Sister, a woman with the same resolve as her ancestor. Sister outlived slavery, managing to keep her children together and grow a purposeful family. Asome of the choices made by Sister and her children weren't the best, Sapphire spoke to each of them from the grave. The kindred, the spirit, the determination, could not be denied.

     A novel of many twists and turns, one can read Sapphire's Grave many times and each time gain a different understanding, as when one views a fine painting. This is what separates mere writing from art. The same is true with writing and Ms. Gurley-Highgate has penned a great novel that is worthy of acclaim. Sapphire's Grave won't haunt me, but inspire me to walk the path that I'm on in tribute to those family members who walked the path before.

     This is not a haunting tale, but rather a legacy of triumph, that despite what is done to the person, the soul can remain chaste.

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