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Pale by Edward Farmer

This story is an excellent example of how slavery didn’t end, but only transitioned to slave wages, as the white plantation owners continued to hold power over “free” blacks. In the mid 60s, In a country rife with racial tension, Bernice takes the advice of her brother to work as a domestic servant at the Kern plantation along with him when she finds herself alone. Secrets seep out slowly from this plantation, and Bernice strives to protect her own. Farmer represents well the horrors domestic servants faced (face?), especially black women at the mercy of white men, and the power that a white woman can wield is enough to damage the lives of those she considers inferior, as we see today in “Karens.” I highly recommend this book, as you have to continually tell yourself how far away from legal slavery it was, and yet the horrors remained (remain). Farmer is a powerful writer, who draws the reader into an increasingly frustrating tale. I was fortunate to receive a digital copy from the publisher Blackstone Publishing through NetGalley.