Review by Dr. Kathryn Barrett-Gaines, Director of African American Studies, UMES

Barbara Lockhart has written a most astonishing historical novel.  Elizabeth’s Field is full of fascinating fact, from the popular early belief that tomatoes were deadly, to the case of Preacher Sam Green, sentenced in Cambridge in 1857 to ten years imprisonment for possess of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, to the fact that in the middle of that century, there were more free black people on the Eastern Shore than enslaved.  Yes, the novel is full of under-known history, but it is Lockhart’s prose that leaves me breathless, rereading again and again more than one poetic insight captured in a sentence.  Barbara Lockhart studied history for nine years to become Sam Green, Harriet Tubman, and Elizabeth, the remarkable East New Market farmer who managed to become the owner of a parcel of land.  Through oral history research, Lockhart renders the voice of her recently deceased neighbor, sharecropper Mattie, whose comic and tragic view of the twentieth century punctuates this Eastern Shore story.  All of this fiction is based on fact.  I talk to this treasure of a local author, Barbara Lockhart, in studio Tuesday at noon EST in the US.  Gaines on Gains airs on WCEM 1240 AM radio.

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