My Name Is Ona Judge – ARC Book Review

Title:- My Name Is Ona Judge

Author:- Suzette D Harrison

Date published:- will be published on 6th September 2022

Publisher:- Bookouture

No. of pages:- 310 pages

Genre- Historical Fiction



Writing:- 5/5

Overall rating:- 5/5

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

Suzette D. Harrison, is an award-winning author of 10 books celebrating African American life and culture. A native Californian and the middle of three daughters, Suzette grew up in a home where reading was required, not requested. Thanks to a culinary degree in Pastry & Baking, when not busy on her next novel, you might find Suzette whipping up a batch of cupcakes.

This is the third book I have read from this author and every time she writes a book, it gets better and better!

Ona Judge is based on the true life of the maid of the first President of the United States and is the favored one as well. Ona then escape from the slavery and the Washingtons post a reward post, demanding Ona’s return. Ona writes a diary, detailing about her life as a slave under the Washingtons. Back to the present day, Tessa Scott finds a journal written by Ona Judge. Tessa is helping out the grandmother of her childhood sweetheart and she was dealing with a controlling boyfriend. As she read the journal detailing about how Ona was separated from her mother and sisters and her daring escape from the Washingtons, the story made Tessa feel courageous if she can get out of the abusive relationship.

To me, what I enjoyed most was reading Ona’s story. The author must have done tremendous research about Ona Judge’s life making it as realistic as possible even though the book itself is fictional. There were parts where there were scenes of slaves being brutally treated–whipped for escaping and making the slaves work without a break. The fact that this did happened many years ago was too sad as we read how slaves were treated in plantations back then. However, we also see how the Washingtons, particularly Martha Washington, known to Ona as “Mistress” treated Ona and she was considered as Mistress’ favorite maid. The most interesting part was how Ona escaped and considered herself a freed slave even though she was known as “fugitive” slave. And Ona got married and had three children and died in Mount Vernon. I also enjoyed how Ona’s story inspired Tessa to leave behind her controlling boyfriend.

Overall, if you want to read and get inspired by Ona’s story, then try this book out–worth five stars!

Many thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for the ARC. The review is based on my honest opinion only.

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