Review: My Name Is Ona Judge
MY NAME IS ONA JUDGE - Suzette D. Harrison
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Brenda Larnell (A++)
HISTORICAL FICTION
REVIEW: What a powerful piece of writing! This story will blow you away! I know it’s Historical Fiction, but deep down inside I came away knowing that there was a lot of truth attached to the conflicts, characters, and scenes. That’s the mark of a great writer, and author Suzette D. Harrison is that writer!

You will be pulled in from the first lines of the Prologue as you meet Miss Ona Judge, the historical heroine. Ona’s story is compelling, and a testament to the trials, fortitude, and determination that our ancestors withstood during the slavery era of this country. Slavery was an abomination, and that fact is made perfectly clear as you read about her time of enslavement in the household of slave-owners, George and Martha Washington, the First President and First Lady of this country. It’s a captivating account! Yet, it’s only half of the story. Through the brilliant use of the time-shift technique, in Chapter One we are introduced to the present-day heroine, Tessa Scott, who discovers Ona’s journal. Ms. Harrison flawlessly delivers this story over two distinct time periods: the late 1700’s  and current day. Ironically, both heroines, though not blood related, are bound together through circumstance. I’ll allow you to discover what that is when you read the story.

The side characters are numerous and unforgettable, and they are instrumental in adding to the intrigue of the storyline.Tessa’s Dominic stands out as a critical side character. I can’t help wondering if present-day Dominic is that much different from Ona’s slave-owners, George & Martha, in the way they treat people. The family dynamic that extends past blood ties is also explored in both time frames, slavery and present-day, through Ona and Tessa. I love how Tessa discovers Ona’s journal at the “family” house in Chincoteague. That setting, Chincoteague, Virginia, is  going to tie everything and everyone together.

Another take-away that I received from this superbly written story is that bondage comes in many forms. Through that journal, Ona becomes free, and Tessa does too. Tessa has her HFN with “B.C.”, her forever friend and confidant because of Ona. You’ll get all of that when you read the story. The last word is given to Ona in the Epilogue, and what a word it is! She reached down through generations and rescued Tessa. I’ll leave that right there.

MY NAME IS ONA JUDGE is truly “an absolutely gripping historical novel”. Please, don’t just take my word for it. You have got to read this book! It is insightful, educational, entertaining, and thought-provoking. Once again, Suzette D. Harrison displays her skills as a modern-day griot and keeper of our history. I highly recommend this book for your reading pleasure. You can thank me later.

1st September 2022 | romcol@caribsurf.com
AWARD OF EXCELLENCE