Indigo by Beverly Jenkins
Also in this series: Through the Storm
Series: Le Veq Family #0.5
Published by Avon Books on November 7th 1996
Genres: Historical Romance, Interracial Romance
Source: Self Purchased
Reading Challenges: Oldie But A Goodie Reading Challenge
As a child Hester Wyatt escaped slavery, but now the dark skinned beauty is a dedicated member of Michigan's Underground railroad, offering other runaways a chance at the freedom she has learned to love. When one of her fellow conductors brings her an injured man to hide, Hester doesn't hesitate…even after she is told about the price on his head. The man in question is the great conductor known as the "Black Daniel" a vital member of the North's Underground railroad network. But Hester finds him so rude and arrogant, she begins to question her vow to hide him. When the injured and beaten Galen Vachon, aka, the Black Daniel awakens in Hester's cellar, he is unprepared for the feisty young conductor providing his care. As a member of one of the wealthiest free Black families in New Orleans, Galen has turned his back on the lavish living he is accustomed to in order to provide freedom to those enslaved in the South. However, as he heals he cannot turn his back on Hester Wyatt. Her innocence fills him like a breath of fresh air and he is determined to make this gorgeous and intelligent woman his own… Yet…there are traitors to be discovered, slave catchers to be evaded and Hester's heart to be won before she and Galen can find the freedom that only true love can bring.
So Welcome to the last segment of Historical Romance 101: It has been such a great month so far. Today all Four of us had the opportunity to read Indigo by Beverly Jenkins. This review is a bit different, so we wanted to do a bit of a group discussion questionairre!! So should be fun. Make sure to see the thoughts of these other great ladies: Jennifer @ Feminist Fairy Tales, Amanda @ On A Book Bender, and Quinn @ Quinn’s Book Nook.
Have you ever read a book by Beverly Jenkins?
Yes I have read a few of her books in the past, and really love her style of writing. I first discovered her upon reading her two teen novels in a avon group series that Avon did 10-15 years ago. I love that she writes delectable romances in a difficult time for many. She writes historical romances in the way that they should be written. With great historical accuracy but still give a solid romance, plot and fun and playful humor. What more do you need?
What were your expectations before reading Indigo?
I honestly didn’t really know much about this book, but what I had heard about it had been pretty amazing so I knew I would have fun with it. But you never know what you will find upon reading Beverly Jenkins, but I knew it would be fun yet still have some serious plot developments that added great balance.
Was there anything you were hesitant about?
The only thing I was worried about was how much conflict she would put in Indigo, since it deals with the Underground Railroad. I was hoping that there wouldn’t be too much danger and secrets that would take away from the actual romance.
How would you describe the heroine in three words? The hero?
Our Heroine was simply lovely. I would describe her as stubborn, proud and courageous. She was a fighter, she earned her freedom early in life, but lost her parents when she was young. I liked that she stood her ground when it mattered most to her. She wasn’t afraid to help others in need.
Now for our delicious hero. Three Words: Scoundrel, Playful, and a Protector. There is so much love I had for Galen. He was born into privelege, had all he could ever want. But when he discovered the horrible atrocities that many suffered from, he became more —helping others escape, becoming a renown conductor. But despite his serious mission he also is such a scoundrel at times. He loves women, but boy he goes all out for Indigo when it comes to seduction. But he loves to play and tease and what a rascal and I couldn’t help but adore him.
Was there anything you didn’t care for in their characters?
There honestly isn’t much I would change about these two. They are both feisty especially at the beginning. The hero does have a bit of a anger issue at the beginning, but I believe that was due to the fact that he was injured and people react differently to pain and he was pretty bad off at first. But as he heals his disposition definitely improves. Indigo at times let her pride and stubborness get away from her. Which I definitely relate with since I do that sometimes. Other than that…these two were simply fabulous.
Did you feel like they both grew as people?
Oh yes definitely. We see a slow change in both of them. Of course they still stay the same in many ways, but love has a way of changing the way you look at things and what you are willing to fight for. Indigo could be a bit naive when it came to love. She doesn’t believe in it at all, she views it as being foolish, she is very practical. So love has no meaning for her. Which does make sense since she lost her parents due to their love of each other. But we see how when she falls…she falls hard in such great ways and it changes her in many positive aspects. I loved seeing that.
What did you think of their individual character journeys?
I admired the way that Beverly Jenkins did this. It was very heartwarming at times. These two do go on their own journeys at times. Indigo goes from being a practical and loner to a woman of passion and being a perfect mate for Galen. He needed a firm hand at times. Most rascals do right?! Now as for Galen, he could have been labeled one of those bad boy players. He definitely never met a woman he didn’t like. He is a flirt and scoundrel, and loves playing in bed. But after meeting Indigo, she calms him and has to work hard to win her over.
Did any secondary characters stand out to you (good or bad)?
The Le Veq Family, I just loved seeing the friendship they had with Galen and the close bonds they have with each other. There are three other books connected to Indigo, so I am excited to see more of this family, since we only got teasing glimpses of them. And I want MORE!! Now there were a couple of characters I was glad to see them get their just desserts. The Grandmother of Galen. She is a horrid bitch. Sorry my language, but she so is!! She beat Galen and treated him like a slave when he was a boy and lost his parents. She basically had blackmailed just about every one she ever knew and forced many people to the streets and took their livelihoods and homes away. She was twisted and cruel. Then we have the hunter of Galen, who is trying to take blacks back to the south and splitting up family and children. He was just horrible, viewed them as nothing more than ants to use and throw away when he no longer needed them. Then we have Jenine (I think that’s how you spell it). At first she just seemed spoiled by her beauty, and very flighty. But we learn early on, that she is deceptive and I loved her end too. Reap what you sow and all that.
What did you think of the first meeting between Hester and Galen?
Well at first, Galen is injured and practically incoherent—but I loved that Hester just reached out instantly to help him especially when she knows what a high risk if they are found together since many men from the south are hunting him. However once he is fully awake though, that meeting was full of angst. but there is still a chemistry that vibrates between them.
Were you able to root for their happy ending easily?
Oh hell yes I was!! I loved seeing these two find their happily ever after because they both deserved it. They both have devoted their lives to reaching out to others and sacrifice much because of it. So it was great to see them, find love and passion and hold onto it. So sweet and endearing their ending was.
What was your favorite romantic interaction between them?
Oh this is so difficult for me because there was quite a few. However, I think what won me over was the first time before Galen goes back home and returns. Was when they go outside to PLAY!!! Make Mud Pies , swim and all that. They tease and play with each other and it was so fun and sweet. I just wanted to cry, because we see them enjoy the happy moments when they came along.
Do you think their happy ending felt realistic?
Oh yes they did. I totally believe Happy Endings are very realistic no matter the setting or time. But Beverly Jenkins did a brilliant job with these two. I love seeing how they adapt to new situations with each other and keeping loving each other no matter what comes along.
What did you think of the pacing of the story?
It was very well evened out, I honestly didn’t know what to expect from the pacing before reading it. But I loved the way this was written. Wasn’t too slow but not too fast either. Had an even balance to it.
Did you feel like the romance was helped or hindered by the subplots? Why?
I think it was helped by the sub plot in the story. It helped bring these two closer to each other in various ways and I enjoyed seeing that come about.
How would you describe the tone of this book?
Serious yet playful and romantic. There are many serious elements to the story given the setting and circumstances that surround the couple. However there is also much fun to be had. It just seemed to be PLAYFUL!! Very unique in that.
Had you ever read a romance about the Underground Railroad before? How did this affect your experience with the book?
I have never read a romance dealing with the Underground Railroad. This was a first for me. I have always been intrigued by it though. Only knew some minor aspects of this aspect of American History, but this story really opened my eyes in how vital it was and the sacrifces many made to help others gain their freedom even at the cost of their own lives. I want to read more of this setting for sure.
How do you think the author handled the historical details? Were they just wallpaper or did they make the story come alive?
I totally think it came alive in a very vibrant way. She handled the details of this so well, and its obvious she did her research for the story. But I also admired that it didn’t overwhelm the actual romance in any way—only added to the enjoyment of it.
Did this book make you want to learn more about this setting?
Oh yes, I am eager to know more about the Underground Railroad….Beverly Jenkins has definitely piqued my interest and fascination once again.
What surprised you most about your reading experience with Indigo?
How much I admired the setting and fell in love with the Characters. I got swept away with the history and the romance.
Any favorite quotes you would like to share?
Here are quite a few that I LOVED!!!
I was told once, that my hands would brand me a slave for the remainder of my years”
“They were correct, but as long as it doesn’t brand who you are in your heart, the color of your hands, like the color of your skin, is no consequence”
Be careful baby girl, I bite. I’ll give you more French than you’ll know what to do with
“Life is too short to be so serious”
“These are serious times,”
“Yes, they are, which is why it’s important to seek out humor and beauty whenever possible. If we don’t, we’ll all be buried beneath the weight of misery”
“No, Petite, Truth”
You Are My Heart
Will you read more books by Beverly Jenkins in the future?
Yes in fact, Now I want to read the rest of the series now!!! I can’t just stop at the first book.
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