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A Million Nightingales by Susan Straight
The protagonist in A Million Nightingales is Moinette, daughter of a slave woman on a Louisiana plantation in the 19th century. Her father is an unknown white man, who was given the gift of her mother when he visited the plantation. It's a society where everyone is judged on their ancestry and the amount of African blood they carry. As an attractive light-skinned mixed race child, Moinette's mother tries to protect her from predatory men. These plans go awry when Moinette is sold to another plantation without a chance to say goodbye to her mother. In a world of violence and control, Moinette is determined to fashion some sort of freedom for herself. Susan Straight's novel has received positive reviews with the New York Times saying, "Straight has given this body of work a historical foundation, a point of reference in the past. But her novel is, besides, a powerful and moving story, written in language so beautiful you can almost believe the words themselves are capable of salving history's wounds."