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Reviewed by Kimberlee J Benart for Readers' Favorite
Libertas by Danuta Pfeiffer is the first book in the epic Pocketful of Seeds trilogy. It follows the journey of Fredericka, a young mixed-race uneducated slave raised on a plantation in antebellum South Carolina, and Horace, an emancipated well-educated young black man raised from childhood in New York City by a wealthy hotel owner as a companion to his son Jonathan. While Jonathan is at school, Horace is kidnapped and taken by Fredericka’s master to South Carolina. When Jonathan receives a letter from Horace asking for help, the journey begins. Now in love with each other and doggedly pursued first by the plantation owner and then by his widow, Fredericka and Horace escape and eventually head west to new lands, hoping to find freedom.
In Libertas, Danuta Pfeiffer has skillfully woven a quintessentially American tale with amazing historical breadth. At its heart is a love story, but this page-turner also blends drama, adventure, and suspense into an exciting and emotionally evocative read. The highly descriptive narrative flows from one twist to the next. From the beginning, Horace is heroic in more ways than one while Fredericka slowly grows into her role, inspired in part by a Native American she encounters along the way. Tragedy, sadness, suffering, injustice, and cruelty are to be found; such were the times and the nature of life, let alone westward travel in the mid-1800s. Overlaying it all is the struggle of black people in a white world. As the first part of a trilogy, we only see part of their journey and I can’t wait to read the rest. Highly recommended.