An intriguing look at a history often thought to be taboo, The One Unspoken touches the hearts of readers of all backgrounds as it tells the story of loss, revenge, and a love forbidden by all but chosen for a better world. What really spoke to me in this book were the unique perspectives that many books during this time period don't talk about - a white woman who grows up with slaves as her family, a black man whose free family owns slaves, and the practice of voodoo that shows both the light and dark sides. How often do we get a book that's willing to talk about these things and in a way that teaches rather than provokes? In this day and age, we need more books like this to show that in a world of division, we are not all so different from one another.
Sidonie Verdier and Gabriel Saint-Martin are neighbors. One is white, with a black slave the closest thing she has a to a mother and a gambling-addicted father who sees her value only in money she can bring from marriage. The other is black, with a mother troubled by a dark past and a father who chooses to drown his sorrows in the arms of another woman. Both have lost much and have much to gain, but when they seek comfort in each other, they soon learn that the boundaries they've crossed were there for a reason. While their love for each other is strong, society and their families are determined to keep them apart. This is a story that chronicles a dark time in our country's history, but it also shows the light that comes when love triumphs over hate.
Apart from the historical component of the story, I just genuinely liked the depth of each individual character brought in with each new chapter. It can be hard to create such multi-dimensional characters without making the book seem too unwieldy to be a pleasant read, but Sarah Bryant does an excellent job of creating a world of characters that are as unique as the stories they tell. The main characters are each strong and determined to succeed in spite of the things holding them back, but their struggles are sometimes not as interesting as that of their families. For instance, Gabriel's father is black, and we are introduced through him to the world of mistresses in New Orleans, who were often daughters of mixed-race assignations and were deemed acceptable to couple with but not acceptable to marry. There is a really good movie called The Courage to Love that explains this very well. It's a heartbreaking story, but if you watch it prior to reading this book, it would give you a better background on the events that take place.
I really enjoyed this book and am glad to see it's only the first in a series! I'm excited to read the next story.
**I received a free copy from the publisher and this is my honest review.**