Sapphire's Grave
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Sapphire's Grave


The debut of a major new talent, SAPPHIRE'S GRAVE tells the stories of several generations of African-American women, bringing their spirit and their sorrow to life with a power, sensitivity, and immediacy.

In 1749 in Sierra Leone, a woman of fierce dignity is captured and forced onto a slave ship. On the harrowing voyage to the Americas, she is beaten for her unrelenting will and staunch pride. When she arrives, she gives birth to a daughter who is called Sapphire because of the "black-blue-black" complexion she shares with her mother. Sapphire has also inherited her mother's strength and defiant spirit, and despite a life of poverty and opression, she grows up to mother several daughters of her own. Even when tragedy strikes and part of Sapphire dies, her strength gives rise to a legend that will sustain the women who follow her, "each carrying something of her mother, her grandmother, her aunts; each passing on to her own daughters blessing and cursing, the consequences of her own choosing.

Through the lives of Sapphire and her descendants, Hilda Gurley-Highgate not only creates a poignant and engrossing saga of black women in America, she brilliantly illuminates the meaning of roots and the links between women and their female ancestors, a tie that often appears tenuous, undefined, and distant, but is strong, palpable, and much closer than we imagine. Written in luminous prose, SAPPHIRE'S GRAVE is an astonishing work by an author poised to take the literary world by storm.

From the Hardcover edition.

Title:Sapphire's Grave
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:256 pages

    Sapphire's Grave Reviews

  • Ashley
    May 08, 2014

    This book had an extremely promising beginning. I was captured by the imagery and believed that the book would become another "Their Eyes Were Watching God," telling tales of African-American legend. ...

  • Chockletter
    Nov 07, 2015

    I really wanted to love this book, and I continued to plod through it all the way till the end hoping it would turn around, never did. Such a confusing storyline and no real character develo...

  • Shelley
    Jan 25, 2013

    This is one of those books you read that you never, ever forget....

  • R.K. Byers
    Nov 09, 2012

    this was one of the most warped, bizarre books that I've ever had the displeasure of enjoying....

  • Titilayo
    Nov 24, 2009

    I was impressed with the ease of the reading and the composition of the story. The ending was a bit disappointing, but it was a good book....

  • Kathleen McRae
    Jan 31, 2017

    This book describes generations of black women who rose through slavery, then emancipation into poverty and predation.The institution of slavery fractured family bonds Black women today still struggle...

  • Mocha Girl
    Oct 20, 2009

    Sapphire's Grave is a moving and poignant debut novel by Hilda Gurley-Highgate. The author transcends two centuries to reveal the foundation of a family: an African captive called Sapphire because of ...

  • Babydoll
    Apr 29, 2009

    Hailed as “capturing regional cadences as succinctly as the poetry of the inner self” by the Baltimore Sun; Sapphire’s Grave is the debut novel by author Hilda Gurley-Highgate that leaves the re...

  • Judy King
    Jan 25, 2012

    Ok, after two days, I've gone back and looked again at the last chapters of this book. Evidently I was sleep-page turning...The End DOES match the beginning in terms of drama, intrigue and satisfactio...

  • Beverlee
    Oct 24, 2015

    Fantastic story....I think it's very much like life. We may begin in one place (not we as in particular person but family lineage) & go through tragedies, hardships, joyful moments, and jubilation, ev...