One of the goals I set for myself this year was to read 50 books. About a week after I set this goal, I realized that I was expecting myself to read a book a week. Ah! The first book I picked to read was actually a Christmas gift from my mother-in-law. She always picks a book from the New York Times Notable book list. (Honesty, it's my suggestion that she pick from this list, and she is nice enough to oblige).
The book she picked is titled The Long Song, and it was written by Andrea Levy. It take place in Jamaica in the 1840s, during the time when Britain decided to end slavery throughout it's colonial empire. I actually read about this topic in college, so I had some background knowledge before starting this story. The main character is a slave "Miss July," who is the daughter of a white overseer and a black slave. The story moved along rather well, but it didn't grip me until more than midway through the book. I found the story interesting, but it just didn't compell me to read it. It portrays Jamaican slavery with all of its brutal honesty, and its graphic nature can be a bit overwhelming at times. Also, I've always found books with dialects a bit of an issue. I've found that the dialect often distances me from the character.
Overall, despite the issues I mentioned, I would recommend this book, especially if you wanted to learn more about slave life in the 1800s.