Born on the Defour plantation in Natchez, Mississippi, before the Civil War, Koweena’s early life is fraught with uncertainty. She doesn’t look like the other slave girls. Her skin isn’t as dark, her hair is brown instead of black, and she is treated diff erently by other slaves. Yet her mother refuses to answer her questions.
The day Koweena meets Julie, the daughter of the plantation owner, her life changes forever. Koweena is allowed to play in the “big house,” and she realizes that there is far more to life than living in a pitiful shack and wearing rags for clothes. The urge to find freedom blots out everything else during the next several years, as she looks for ways to find a new life, especially when she sees the continued depravity at the Defour plantation.
Koweena’s salvation comes from an unexpected source. Julie herself wants to help her find freedom, and the two begin to plan for Koweena’s trip on the Underground Railroad. It’s a journey fraught with danger, but Koweena knows she has no choice. She must take this step if she is ever to fi nd the happiness she longs for.
But then Koweena learns the shattering truth of her parentage—one that will make her question not only her past, but her future as well.