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Waters Plantation - Book Review

Waters Plantation


Author: Myra Hargrave McIlvain
Genre: Fiction - Historical
Date Published: November 6, 2018
ISBN-10: 1633633519
ISBN-13: 9781633633513

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Book Review of :  Waters Plantation



Waters Plantation is a work of fiction by Myra Hargrave Mcllvain, who is also known as a “teller of Texas tales”. In her previous work, she had explored the lives of the residents of the Stein house – Amelia and Helga, two sisters who had emigrated from Germany and made a niche for themselves in Indianola, Texas. Their story continues in this latest work “Waters Plantation,” by Mcllvain, as Amelia tries to seek her long lost love.

The story is set in the era when Tom Sawyer was published, when Alexander Graham Bell made his first phone call in Boston and when the word Negro was as ubiquitous and congruous as it is vile today. The protagonist of the story is the owner of the Waters Plantation – Albert Waters and the plot revolves around how he tries to right the wrongs he did as a young carefree lad, how he struggles with his son’s identity crises and how he tries to assuage the tyranny of white – skinned folks against the black – skinned residents of the town.

The storyline keeps the readers engaged as the author narrates the trials and tribulations of Albert Waters. In his quest to manumit the Black slaves on his brother’s plantation, he enters in a sham marriage with his brother’s widow, inherits the Waters Plantation and emancipates the slaves. However, most of those slaves choose to continue their employment with their generous employer – this milieu of harmony between the whites and the blacks is well described by the author.

In his youth, Albert, after a tempestuous night with a fair-skinned slave girl, fathered a child – Tobias, but instead of abandoning Tobias, as per the norm, he chose to raise him as his rightful heir and shield him from the prevalent hate towards the colored race. Tobias’ character is described as a fair – skinned, bright-minded youth who never faced discrimination until he decided to embrace his mixed-blood heritage and crops his hair. This slight change in his appearance made his white neighbors hostile, who were previously oblivious to his true lineage and had revered him as a Harvard educated doctor.

The author has used a non-judgmental narration style to describe the racial tension prevalent in that era. She avoided hyperbolic, gory details to draw out readers’ sympathy towards the black characters in the story. She has briefly touched upon most of the racial evils that existed in Texas at that time.  She writes of the tyranny of KKK and their crimes against the colored races, the segregation of the black in trains, banks, stores and other basic amenities, the refusal of white doctors to treat a black child raped by a member of KKK and so on.

The story starts with a strained relationship between Albert and his son, with Albert thinking, “Everything he’d always thought good and right was a lie, a white man’s lie”. Will Albert and Tobias find their peace? Does Amelia find her lost love? Does the KKK manage to destroy the harmony at the Waters Plantation? These questions keep the plot intriguing right up till the end.  Waters Plantation is worth a read for those who enjoy period – drama genre.


About Myra Hargrave McIlvain


Myra Hargrave McIlvain is a teller of Texas tales. Whether she is sharing the stories in her books, her lectures, or her blog, she aims to make the Texas story alive. She has free-lanced as a writer of Texas historical markers for the Texas Historical Commission, written articles for newspapers all over the country and for magazines such as Texas Highways. She has had ten books published - all Texas stories. Her recently published historical fiction WATERS PLANTATION is the sequel to her award-winning DOCTOR'S WIFE and STEIN HOUSE. Her 2017 nonfiction is another award-winner, TEXAS TALES, STORIES THAT SHAPED A LANDSCAPE AND A PEOPLE.




Visit https://www.myramcilvain.com for more information on Myra Hargrave McIlvain


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