Wednesday, September 7, 2022

BLOG TOUR - My Name is Ona Judge


New Hampshire, 1796. “My name is Ona Judge, and I escaped from the household of the President of the United States. I was the favored maid of George and Martha Washington, but they deemed me a slave and thought me property, and I hear ten dollars is offered as reward for my capture. Now I must write the truth that I have lived, and tell my story…”

Chincoteague, Virginia, present day. Rain soaks Tessa Scott as she runs from her car to the old, vine-covered property she has been called to survey. She’s too busy to accept a new job, but doing this favor for the grandmother of her childhood sweetheart delays a painful decision she must make about a future with her controlling boyfriend.

But when Tessa finds a tattered journal carefully hidden inside the house’s ancient fireplace, the tragic story of how Ona was ripped from her mother’s arms to live and work in the palatial Mount Vernon, and the heart-shattering betrayal that led her to risk her life and run, has Tessa spellbound. Could discovering this forgotten scandal at the heart of her nation’s history force her to confront her own story? As she races to reach the final page, will anything prepare her for the desperate moment when Ona’s captors find her again? Will it inspire Tessa to take ownership of her own life and set herself free?

A completely heartbreaking tale of love, loss and redemption, based on an astonishing true story from the founding of America. Perfect for fans of Before We Were Yours, Marie Benedict and America’s First Daughter.


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Title:   My Name is Ona Judge
Author:  Suzette D. Harrison 
Publisher:  Bookouture 
Genre:   Historical Fiction 
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   310
Date of Publication:   September 6, 2022
My Rating:   5 Stars 

Tessa Scott finds an ancient diary of a woman who escaped slavery. The diary dates back to 1796. Written in the hand of a woman name Ona Judge Staines who was a slave and resided in the house of George and Martha Washington. Like countless others in her time, she was nothing less than chattel property. Slavery at that time was legal, and Ona’s happy life as a young child while growing up with her mother and siblings was changed forever when at the age of 10 she was ripped away and sent to live in the Washington household.

Tessa at first is reluctant to read the diary that she found. She is currently dealing with some difficult situations in her personal life. For one thing, she has some health issues that she is concerned about and she’s also in a relationship that is not bringing her joy. Tessa knows that she must make some important decisions.

Although quite busy, when her boyfriend of long ago asks a favor of her, she feels she must agree. He asks her to look over his grandmother’s property as it is currently embroiled in a legal battle. This proves to be quite a distraction for Tessa, especially when she is trying to decide the fate of her current unhealthy relationship. 

As the story is told in dual timeline fashion, we also see the life of Ona Judge over the course of several years, Beginning when she was just 10 years of age. The chapters in this book are set in a way so that readers can see how Ona grew up, how she escaped slavery, and what happened in her life after that.

Suzette D Harrison has a gift. She writes a story that makes you think. That makes you feel. That makes you want to rail against the offenders in her stories. Last year I had the pleasure of of reading my favorite book of 2021, The Girl at the Back of the Bus by Suzette D Harrison. Another fabulous book I was able to read by this wonderful and talented author is another favorite of mine for 2022, The Dust Bowl Orphans. Thankfully I was blessed with a chance to read this book, My Name is Ona Judge. It was just as impressive. Just as memorable. And now I have found another favorite book of 2022.

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.

Please enjoy my YouTube video review - 


Suzette D. Harrison, a native Californian and the middle of three daughters, grew up in a home where reading was required, not requested. Her literary "career" began in junior high school with the publishing of her poetry. While Suzette pays homage to Alex Haley, Gloria Naylor, Alice Walker, Langston Hughes, and Toni Morrison as legends who inspired her creativity, it was Dr. Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings that unleashed her writing. The award-winning author of Taffy is a wife and mother of two teens, and she holds a culinary degree in pastry and baking. Mrs. Harrison is currently cooking up her next between batches of cupcakes.

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