This book will join Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Harriet Beecher Stowe’s other great book Dread: The Story of the Great Dismal Swamp as one in a trio of greats on my reading list. In some ways it offers a slightly “sanitized” version of slavery that the people of high culture in Charleston might not even be shamed by; that makes it all the more horrifying when you hear the white mistress’s rationalizations for each block in Charlotte’s story quilt. While H.B. Stowe drives the reader to his/her knees with the most horrifying examples of slavery, S. M. Kidd guides us each gently, inviting us to love a story and the characters and allowing us to see how we might have been able to rationalize our own roles in established debauchery. Nothing makes this more obvious than the elder mistress agreeing to free certain slaves at her death. While a confession implies she understands her guilt – her self-imposed penance costs her nothing.