On Sarah’s eleventh birthday, she is given ownership of ten-year-old Handful, who is to be her handmaid. We follow their remarkable journeys over the next 35 years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.
Reading a book gives great pleasure – you can feel the way the book talks to you. I’ve found listening to a book puts you in another world. This audiobook is excellent because listening to the different dialogues of the Southern women and the slave girl will keep you involved in the story.
It’s Sarah 11th birthday and after many hours of anticipation of what her present might be, she is finally led out onto the front veranda. In front of family and slaves, her mother gives Sarah, a dark-skinned slave with a red bow in her hair called Handful (Hetty). Hetty is shocked that she is being taken away from her mother to work in the house as a maid. Sarah and Handful grow to love one another and become friends. As the years go by, both women from different backgrounds see what their world is like in the 1800s South Carolina. One who will always be a slave and the other who depends on the politics and has no say in how she lives her life. Sarah made a promise that she would one day free Handful, and for years Sarah wondered how could she free her friend if she couldn’t free herself. Sarah left the plantation and traveled to Philadelphia where she meets a Quaker and learns that many people are fighting for the equality for all men, women, and especially the negro. Sarah takes up the cause and gets banned from her home town of Charleston and told never to come back. Hetty has worked toward freedom in her own way especially after her mother was sold for not following the laws of what slaves are not to be seen and heard. In the end, both women find their path to freedom.