Cover Image: Libertie


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Member Reviews

Thank you to the publisher for the ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review.

I greatly enjoyed reading about this time period and seeing the events of this novel unfold through the character of Libertie. This is a novel about what it means to be a free Black woman, and you can see Libertie struggling to understand what this means and how it translates to her place in the world. It is also a book about mothers and daughters, and the sacrifices mothers sometimes make for their children (which often go unnoticed).

The beginning and end of this book were the strongest parts of the story. Seeing Libertie's interactions with her mother as a child and young woman was fascinating and heartbreaking. And then seeing Libertie come to terms with the choices she made by the end made me want to cheer her on even more. In the middle of the book, things get a little muddled. The scenes with Emmanuel and Libertie on the boat made me cringe; they definitely spoke to his character but it was kind of weird. Ella's character broke my heart and I wanted more for her by the end. I felt like I wanted to spend more time in Haiti in the book and really get to know the island and its culture; with Libertie in the confines of the house most of the time, you really don't see much of the island. Other things get glossed over too, like the Civil War, which felt odd to devote only a bit of the story to.

My only other critique was that at times Libertie's voice felt too modern. It took me out of the story at times. Overall, though, I enjoyed this book.

TW: suicide; slavery; racism; imagined mental illness

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To start off, I must note that the book cover may just be as beautiful as the book itself. Libertie is poetic, agonizingly sad at times and also life affirming. Libertie and her mother, Dr. Sampson are two of the strongest female protagonists I have ever encountered. Set in Reconstruction-era Brooklyn and later in Haiti, this is both historical fiction and a coming of age novel. The love between Libertie and "Mama " (for they are each other's world) is heartbreakingly beautiful. Libertie is a freeborn black girl born to a mother who could pass for white. Sadly, this makes life a bit more challenging for Libertie, based solely on other's preferences for lighter skin. Painful to read at times, this book did not shy away from challenging but relevant topics such as colorism, sexism, slavery and violence. The author based this story in part on one of the first black female doctors in US history and her daughter. Dr. Sampson is a homeopathic doctor who also puts her life at risk by helping to free slaves. She is heroic and selfless. There were passages in this book that were so achingly sad yet the author's lyrical prose somehow made it a bit more bearable. The definition of what freedom is is a central theme in this exquisitely written book. This is one that will stay with me for a long time to come. 4.5⭐️ out of 5⭐️ Thank you to @algonquinbooks and for inviting me to be part of this book tour and also to @netgalley for the free e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. #libertie #kaitlyngreenidge #netgalley #goodreads #bookstagrammer #algonquinbooks #blogtour #bookreviewer #booksandmrdarcy #withhernosestuckinabook❤️📚

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A powerful story of endurance, freedom and a life you can choose anything you want to be.
Libertie! Found out what her mother was doing aside from being a black free doctor.
She was helping black folks to reach freedom by coming to their home and that was a risk for everyone!

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The crux of this novel is definitely the taut and complex mother-daughter relationship between Libertie and Dr. Sampson but also the idea of freedom. Throughout the novel, we and the characters are constantly pondering: What does it mean to be free? Free of expectations? Free to make choices? Free to exist? What actually is freedom, especially to those who have never seen it and to those who have never been in bondage? Alongside these questions of freedom, Libertie struggles with what it means to be a Black woman caught between a world that only sees one path as acceptable and a mother who only sees another path as true freedom. What happens when neither path seem enjoyable?

I was expecting more of the novel to take place during Libertie’s adult years, primarily during her marriage. While I understand why we needed to meet Libertie at a young age in order to understand her outlook on life, I do think that the plot wandered in a few places. There were some moments in Libertie’s childhood that could’ve been tightened and shortened to help the pacing in the beginning of the novel. Overall, this was an enjoyable novel, and I would definitely read another work by Kaitlyn Greenidge.

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A thank you to Netgalley for sharing the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

In addition to my comfort thrillers, I've been reading a lot of historical fiction this year, most especially those inspired by true (and feminist) events. So, easy to see why this caught my eye. I loved many things about this novel - it's beauty and harsh realism, the empathetic characters, and the immersion into a world that I really had no prior knowledge. I didn't love it though as much as I had expected and to say that I fell into fully immersed wouldn't be accurate. That said, it's a pretty great debut and I will definitely be reading more by the author - and gotta love that cover. It's gorgeous!

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This book was surprisingly disappointing. I DNF'd this book about halfway through. There was nothing happening and the writing style was less than captivating. I am very disappointed as this was a most anticipated for the year.

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I was so torn after reading Libertie. After much reflection, I found it beautiful and heavy. It’s a slow burn with so many moving parts. It has so many distracting crescendos and diminuendos all to one final note. At times it felt like a slow burn. This is a coming-of-age story, told in progression from child to adulthood, in a continuous conversation on freedom. What does it mean to be liberated? It is not lost on me the irony of the protagonist’s name, as she was the centerpiece of the chaos and even more tormented in a world of layered bondage. The timeline and setting of a newly emancipated Black America to the sovereign state of Haiti were thrilling as it was thought-provoking. The mass of issues covered from Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, colorism, racism, misogyny, societal norms, to sexuality was impressive as the tone of delivery was haunting. This book gave me chills and left my mind playing catch-up at the end.

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Libertie is the story of Libertie, a dark-skinned daughter of a light skinned doctor. Struggling under the life-long expectations of her aloof but exacting mother, Libertie tries to find her own path through school, a marriage, and a move to Haiti.

The premise of this book was compelling and set at a time in history after the end of slavery in the US and also features added dynamics of the perceptions and experiences of people in Haiti in relation to Black Americans. There aren't a lot of books set in this time-frame, which definitely makes this book valuable. This book is really about Libertie's struggle to stand on her own and to come out from under the shadow of her mother. Their relationship is fraught and filled with the need for exceptionalism. There are also the added layers of skin color dynamics between mother and daughter as well the Libertie with her husband. This is a well written literary fiction.

One aspect of this book I struggled with is that Libertie is less of someone to aspire to, but more of a regular person with their struggles, flaws, and questionable decision making skills. I found her to be extremely frustrating and rash. As the story is really told from her point of view, her seeming lack of empathy, gratitude, and direction made it really hard for me to like her. But we do see some character growth by the end of the book, which is certainly a plus. While the main character is just not someone who is in my wheelhouse of preferred protagonists, this story is well delivered and more stories like this one deserve to be told.

Thank you so much to @algonquinbooks for including me on this story and providing me with an E-ARC!

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This book is powerful and says so much about the meaning of freedom, knowing yourself and overall hopes and dreams. It’s hard to convey how deeply felt the longing is and how the story masterfully builds this.

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What started out as an interesting historical fiction account of a black woman doctor as told by her daughter, ended up becoming a long, drawn-out, rebellious identity crisis that comes to a blunt and unsatisfying conclusion. The storytelling was there, but the plot tended to wander without ambition and no apparent objection. All the components needed to create a compelling narrative were there: fascinating characters, a time period ripe with potential, and an entire “lifetime” to play out on the page. Numerous experiences were glossed over that, if expounded upon, could have enriched the storyline, instead drawing out the more dull moments and adding miscellany that could have been omitted.

The synopsis held so much promise but did not deliver.

Algonquin Books gifted me an advanced copy of this book. The opinions are my own.

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So very many topics were broached in this novel and were written about very well. Colorism is one that I’ve not read a lot about so it was interesting to me to see how it affected these characters in the 1860s in both New York and Haiti. The coming of age struggle of defining oneself and what individual freedom means was central to the story.

Thanks to NetGalley and Algonquin Books for the ARC to read and review.

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"How could you be bound to someone, for life, to the grave, and fundamentally not feel the same thing?"

Libertie is a historical fiction novel inspired by the life of one of the first Black female doctors in the US. Libertie is born free and daughter to a physician who has great aspirations for her daughter - she wants to run a hospital together. Libertie is very much a coming-of-age story and deeply analyzes familial relationships, expectations and the whims of young girls. It also touches on how people perceive and feel things differently, and the struggles of being a woman in a male dominated world and colorism & racism. It's a complex story with a lot of emotions and thoughts.

The story started off very strong - no spoilers - but it felt very "witch doctor-y" but after the first quarter that darker vibe clears away and the rest of the story continues...which fell a bit flat for me. Particularly, I think it is because I didn't find a single character to be likable. All in all, there are some important messages, atmospheric moments & some knock out lines within this book - but it just missed the mark for me.

* I received an arc in exchange for an honest review*

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Gosh. I really expected to love this coming-of-age novel by the award-winning author, Kaitlyn Greenidge. Especially in light of all of the wonderful pre-publication buzz. Unfortunately, I found myself having to put it down and pick it back up too much. That’s a tell-tale sign that it’s not a four- or five-star read (at least for me). I love the IDEA of the book, but I just couldn’t connect to it as it felt long and a bit drawn out.

Despite her name, our protagonist—named Libertie—is not free. She’s stifled by her mother’s extremely high expectations. Then she leaves home and submits to her new husband who’s also a doctor. Living a life of leisure is not her calling, but what is? And who is she? And where does she belong?

This is an important, historical story of strong women (a mother and daughter) who struggle to “see” each other. It also shows the extreme hardship of growing up as a Black woman in the Reconstruction Era, and having to face issues of identity, purpose, education, love, family and expectations.

Special thanks for an advanced reader copy from Algonquin Books, via NetGalley.

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I couldn’t connect with Libertie and the characters were kind of boring. I couldn’t finish this one.

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have had my eye on this book since I first heard about it from the publisher. The gorgeous cover had me approving this request without even reading the synopsis. At one of the virtual publisher luncheons I attended, Libertie was spotlighted. Learning that this story was based on two real life characters heightened my anticipation. I started reading this novel last week, and at first was so enthralled with the story, I savoured it slowly. I would reread sentences, and stop and imagine scenes in my mind. This is my first work by Greenidge and it is so well written, rich with details and characters akin to Toni Morrison's writing. I loved seeing the world through Libertie's eyes. How her light skin doctor mother saved lives and started to turn into a realistic women with flaws. Her awe of her mother's healing, making her want to her follow her footsteps, and then see the world as she steps into the academic world. When Libertie returns home after some time in school, the novel started to fall apart for me. Her time in Haiti soon was just a read and no longer an adventure. It is this reason I gave the novel 3.5 rounded up to 4 stars. I wanted more of Brooklyn and her mother's story, and what becomes of them all. I felt like the ending of the novel, left me with more questions about everything. That could just be my nosy side of wanting clear cut answers. I also did not care for Emmanuel or his family, so maybe that's what made the latter half more of a chore. After reading this book, I will try anything by Greenidge, just for a taste of her words. For someone that loves lyrical prose writing, this was a good book. I would recommend this one because I think no matter what kind of reader goes into the story, they will leave it feeling like they gained something.

I received a complimentary copy of this ebook from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

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Libertie is a novel by Kaitlyn Greenridge and is a coming-of-age novel about a young woman named Libertie, who grows up with only her mother. Her mother is a healer and Libertie sees many amazing things and learns plenty from her mother. She is always looking for the liberty of her name, a name given her by her father. As she grows older, she discovers liberty is in short supply for many reasons. She decides to take her changes with a Haitian man who promises her equality if she returns with him to Haiti. She must face the reality of that decision many times over as she discovers the reality.

Greenridge writes beautifully. Her command of the language is exquisite and she is a born story-teller. There is much more than racism addressed in this popular novel; things which face all of us eventually, usually sooner rather than later. For a Black woman facing her future, I would imagine this book is the tonic she needs. The reality of Literie's life is so much different than what she had dreamed. It is both inspiring and heart-breaking to read her story. A very interesting and well-written book. I recommend giving it a try.

I was invited to read a free ARC of Libertie by Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own. #netgalley #libertie

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Thank you to Algonquin Books and author Kaitlyn Greenidge for an advanced reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Set during the American Civil War and Renconstruction, this beautiful, dreamy novel is the story of a young freeborn Black woman in Brooklyn, Libertie, whose mother is the area's first Black female doctor. Libertie struggles beneath the weight of her mother's expectations, but also loves her strong, smart mother intensely and doesn't want to disappoint her. When she meets a young doctor and has the opportunity to marry and follow her new husband to Haiti, Libertie is forced to make painful choices that will hurt those she loves the most.

Filled with vivid imagery of 1860s Brooklyn and Haiti, lilting Kreyol (Creole) phrases, and the work of a physician of that time period, the novel deals with difficult subjects, including colorism, the trauma of enslaved people, and a young woman's agency, or lack thereof, to choose the life she wants to live. This historical fiction is a 5-star read and highly recommended.

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Libertie is about a girl named Libertie and her mom Cathy who is a well-known practicing physician living in Brooklyn. As more and more enslaved people taking their freedom, Libertie’s mother is busier than ever and their house just keeps getting fuller. While Cathy’s dream is for Libertie to become a physician like herself, Libertie doesn’t think being a physician is what she wants.

In this book, we get to see Libertie grow and become the woman she wants to be in the ever-changing world around her.

I could not put this book down. The author portrays each and every character brilliantly, especially the women. There were so many great themes in this book from freedom to feminism that were presented so well. The mother-daughter theme in this book was also very strong. It’s definitely been a while since I’ve read a book like this that was so well written.

Oh, and let’s not forget this beautiful cover.

All in all, I really enjoyed reading this book.IT wasn’t super-fast paced, but it was still a great read that I highly recommend.

Thank you NetGalley and Algonquin books for allowing me to be a part of this blog tour in exchange for and honest review.

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At the center of this novel is the question of freedom - How to obtain it and can you ever truly be free? Especially in Reconstruction Era America as Libertie Sampson comes to discover. She is constantly surrounded by this idea of freedom, from her name, her status as a freeborn Black girl, Emancipation, and the definitions everyone but her seems to have for it. Libertie spends the novel feeling weighted down by the expectations others, especially her mother, have for her to make the most of the opportunities freedom brings. So does she follow their lead or chart her own path? Is freedom given to you by someone else or something you make for yourself?

The novel spends time with many existential questions. At one point Libertie’s mother posits that the root cause of loneliness is a lack of love. Later Libertie reckons with what all young people realize as they grow: that parents are not so infallible as they seem when you’re a child. Generational divides over what is deemed important to preserve and what to can/should be left behind. They are intriguing questions to consider within Libertie’s historical context as well as within our modern one.

You could spend hours discussing all of the different aspects of this book, Greenridge isn’t holding anything back. She challenges you to look beyond the surface, to really deeply consider the complexities that come with being human. This is definitely a novel I will return to again and again because new thoughts and observations are sure to come with every re-read, it’s a text filled with riches.

Thank you again to @algonquinbooks for the e-Arc!

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4.5 Stars. Wow. What an interesting coming-of-age story of Libertie, a young, free-born, dark-skinned, Black girl growing up in New York around the end of the slavery era in the United States. I’m not quite sure what I expected going into this, but I did not expect this amazing journey of this young girl and her fraught relationship with her doctor mother, her community, the pressure of the dreams of her ancestors and her reconciliation with herself.

The premise is that Libertie is a dark-skinned girl living in a Black community around the start of the US Civil War. Even though she’s scorned for her dark complexion, her white-passing mother is the respected town doctor who dreams of a better life for her daughter through education and joining her in the medical field. But Libertie has different dreams.

This was a really unique narrative on an oft-told story. A lot of books have been written about this epoch in time much like a lot of books have been written about World War 2. But much like Anne Frank’s eponymous diary is seen as a quintessential classic telling the story of a young girl’s perspective of Nazi occupation, I see this as having the potential to become a fictionalized classic, revealing the zeitgeist of the period in an African-American community of free people from the perspective of a young girl. There are unpopular themes in this book, discrimination and bigotry even within Black communities is a key theme- especially in terms of colourism, classism, freeborn status, educational attainment and so on. The internalized racism of the time which many people had bought into is explored from all angles. The weight of expectation of a new, free generation of Black youngsters, from their parents who had experienced slavery, is another key theme which manifests in Libertie’s fraught relationship with her mother. The difficulties around love, activism, family and forgiveness, relocating to a utopia and finding there is no such place, friendship and sexuality are also major themes in this novel. The relationship between free African-Americans and the Black people they met in the colonies is also explored, specifically in Haiti, and it was a delight to have Haitian-Creole as another language in this book. I’m usually the first to side-eye when an author translates all the second language in their book, but here it is seamlessly incorporated into the plot why the translations exist and take place.

One thing I think is fantastic about this book is the fact that even though the themes are very specific to the historical period of the book, they are incredibly germane to current events and modern day experiences of racism, colourism, featurism, classism within and outside the Black community globally. The colonization of the mind that automatically condemns anything indigenous as primitive whilst glorifying Western ideas, that appropriates certain cultural norms for financial gain whilst condemning the people, those things the author writes about in this book are valid even today. Reading this, I got a lot of new insight into a historical period, but I also was able to draw parallels with current cultural norms and values and it was as sad as it was enlightening.

I often find that these sorts of single-narrator coming of age stories can be a little uneven and lose some traction in the telling, so that at a point they begin to drag or become a little boring. Not this one! This was perfectly executed. There’s a great blend of character development and plot development. Libertie’s narration feels objective even in her revelation and examination of herself- her flaws, her fears, her misunderstandings are front and center. At times, this was a painful read, a sad one, one to make you shake your head at life and youthful decision-making, but it was also a hopeful one, one that was an absolute pleasure to read, a page-turner that leaves you wishing there were a few more pages. Libertie as a central character is an absolute delight in her journey to find herself, she is perfect imperfection and relatable in her humanity, it is brilliant. In her journey, there is space for any of us who have ever felt lost to find a piece of our own restlessness, to understand ourselves a little better and to know that we can always make our own way. I loved this book, it is eminently readable and I highly recommend it.

I received an advanced copy of this book from Algonquin Books.

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