Book Review: The Secret Life of Winnie Cox: Slavery, Forbidden Love and Tragedy by Sharon Maas

The Secret Life of Winnie Cox

1910, South America. A time of racial tension and poverty. A time where forbidden love must remain a secret.

Winnie Cox lives a privileged life of dances and dresses on her father’s sugar cane plantation. Life is sweet in the kingdom of sugar and Winnie along with her sister Johanna, have neither worries nor responsibilities, they are birds of paradise, protected from the poverty in the world around them.

But everything can change in a heartbeat …

When Winnie falls in love with George Quint, the post-office boy, a ‘darkie’ from the other side, she soon finds herself slipping into a double life. And as she withdraws from her family, she discovers a shocking secret about those whom are closest to her. Now, more than ever, Winnie is determined to prove her love for George, whatever price she must pay and however tragic the consequences might be.

My thoughts:

The story has left such an impression on me. It has stirred up so many emotions of the brutality on humanity and how in our world often times more than not, shows merciless and evil acts. This story also portrays courageous hearts and a will to survive in the bravest of people.

When I first begun this story, I had my doubts at how this story would unfold. I was thoroughly annoyed with Winnie and her naïve attitudes towards life. She is like a princess that lives in a class castle but not seeing the world for what it is. Then one day she and her sister learns from venturing out of their castle-plantation house if you will-the realities of their Father’s treatment of the coolies who labor for him. Once that happen, their glass castle shatters around them.

For Winnie, this changes everything she thought she knew in her life and nothing would ever be the same anymore. She falls for a young man not of her culture and endures many struggles to be with him. Throughout the story she still continues to be disillusioned about many things and I wondered if she was ever going to realize that things do not always work out to our wants in life. I believe she had a romantic view of love without wanting to come to terms of the potential consequences for not only her but for the young man she loves so dearly.

I admire how the author portrays in this story of how slavery had been abolished and slaves were replaced with indentured servants but they were not treated much better. The author doesn’t beat around the bush and gives us a clear and tragic picture of this evil.

The weaving of a diverse culture and racial tensions is powerfully portrayed in this story. I’ve rated this story five stars.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

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