Yellow Crocus

A sweet story of the complex and forbidden love between a slave and the daughter of her owner, Yellow Crocus is tender and honest. Your heart will soar!

This is as true a story as has ever been told: the story of my love for Mattie,
and, I suppose, her love for me in return.

— Laila Ibrahim


Lisbeth, born to a wealthy family in Virginia in 1837, is handed to an enslaved wet nurse right after birth. Through the years, Lisbeth develops a deep love for Mattie that resonates through decades and changes the way she views slavery and her birthright.


Yellow Crocus is a sweet and simple story of the complex and forbidden love between a slave and the daughter of her owner. Instead of delving too deeply into the actual horrors of slavery (the daily abuses and mistreatments), it focuses instead on the tenderness that can grow in the most unlikely of places. There is, of course, one major (heartbreaking) scene that’s enough to resonate throughout the book and sit with you in your memory and heart and remind you WHY slavery is such an atrocity.

The story also exposes some of the hardships of a runaway slave on the road to freedom. What they had to sacrifice, the strength and perseverance it took to make that choice, and the reasons slaves chose to run even in the face of certain death. There were also characters who chose not to run, and the book touches on those reasons as well.

Yellow Crocus wonderfully portrays how house slaves were forced to give up their families in favor of raising their slave owner’s children and stay in “The Big House” instead of with their loved ones. The cost of that action is heartbreaking. The yearning that stays with them as they watch from afar as their family lives each day without their mother/daughter/sister is horrendous.

The majority of the book takes place before the start of the Civil War, and sets up the scene perfectly for differing viewpoints and actions that formed the abolitionist movement. It gives just a taste of the myriad problems posed by slavery, and how it was viewed differently to all ages in the North and South.

The thing I loved the most about the book was the heart. Mattie and Lisbeth were fleshed out so well, and really tug at your heart strings. The book tenderly explores the strength of the bond between an enslaved nanny and her white charge. Theirs is a love that grows in the most unlikely of places, endures tests of time and will, and changes so many hearts. I really loved this tender and unflinching story, and would recommend it to everyone who wants to enhance their compassion. Listening on audiobook was an added bonus – the narrator really brought it to life!

Focus on bearing, and beauty will follow. Your looks will not remain with you for life. But your bearing will go with you to the grave.

— Laila Ibrahim


Yellow Crocus
by Laila Ibrahim
Revised, 253 pages
Published August 19th 2014 by Lake Union Publishing


Yellow Crocus is a sweet and simple story of a complex and forbidden love between a slave and the daughter of her owner. I really loved this story, and would recommend it to anyone who wants to grow in their compassion for humanity. Listening on audiobook really brought it to life - what a wonderful narrator!

— Cassie
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