• Yellow Crocus

  • By: Laila Ibrahim
  • Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
  • Length: 8 hrs and 21 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (11,872 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Moments after Lisbeth is born, she’s taken from her mother and handed over to an enslaved wet nurse, Mattie, a young mother separated from her own infant son in order to care for her tiny charge. Thus begins an intense relationship that will shape both of their lives for decades to come. Though Lisbeth leads a life of privilege, she finds nothing but loneliness in the company of her overwhelmed mother and her distant, slave-owning father. As she grows older, Mattie becomes more like family to Lisbeth than her own kin and the girl’s visits to the slaves’ quarters - and their lively and loving community - bring them closer together than ever. But can two women in such disparate circumstances form a bond like theirs without consequence? This deeply moving tale of unlikely love traces the journey of these very different women as each searches for freedom and dignity.

Revised edition: This edition of Yellow Crocus includes editorial revisions.

©2014 by Laila Ibrahim. (P)2014 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

What listeners say about Yellow Crocus

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A rare find, a 5 star book!

I don't rate all good books with 5 stars, but I have absolutely nothing to nitpick about this audiobook. I enjoyed everything about it, and I am sure it will remain in my memory for a long time to come.

I am often wary of reading a "slave" book, just like I am of a "holocaust" book. It takes some emotional bracing and mental preparation beforehand, but I will not avoid these two heartrending and important subjects.

This book was beautifully written. The characters were well-developed and all very believable. Whether I loved them or hated them, I could surely understand their motivations and behaviors based on the times and the setting they resided in. The slavery period can make for very sad and uncomfortable reading, but author Ibrahim handled this with finesse, neither appealing to or manipulating our emotions and our guilt, nor glossing over it to make it more palatable. I feel the story was well-balanced and the facts of the period were presented in a non-preachy and non-exaggerated manner.

The story was engrossing to me. I really cared what happened to the two main characters, Mattie and Lisbeth. I held my breath at times when they exhibited behaviors that would likely put them in real danger, and I sighed with relief when it seemed that they would be all right. The ending was very intense and emotional--I listened with rapt attention, even though I believed I knew what was going to happen. This book is an example of what I refer to as "an author taking care of their readers."

The narration, in case you are wondering, was just perfect. I hope to find more audiobooks narrated by Turpin in the future.

210 people found this helpful

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Beautiful southern historical fiction

I read this book in print back in 2012 and if I remember right I read it in Bahni’s voice so was very happy to listen to the real thing. Bahni Turpin’s narration was amazing; she is such a great narrator. Every character has their own voice and her male voices are great too. She makes this story come to life and embodies every character and makes them real.


This is a beautifully written book about a young white girl Lisbeth or Miss Elizabeth as her parents want her known as who grows up on Fair Oaks Plantation in the 1800’s. When Lisbeth is born she is handed from her mother to slave/wet-nurse Mattie who has been taken from the Quarters and her newborn son to the Big House and Elizabeth’s mother thinks she should be so grateful to be living in the lap of luxury. As time goes on Lisbeth learns to love and depend on Mattie much more than her own mother but Lisbeth is young and naïve and doesn’t realize there is much more to life on the plantation than she is seeing.

This is a coming of age story as we watch Lisbeth from the time she is born till she is a grown woman, we watch as innocence is replaced with knowledge and knowledge is not always a happy thing. This realization is a slow building and at times Lisbeth doesn’t want to see but when the time comes she has to make a choice- “ Decisions to make, she thought to herself. She was too tired to make any more decisions.”

I loved the character of Mattie she has this outlook on life that is inspiring especially considering the life she lives as a slave. And even though she had to leave her own child to take care of Lisbeth she loved the girl.

These characters were so real to me I could hear their voices in my head; I could see what they saw. This author gave voice to these people in such a beautiful way I can’t even come close to finding the correct words to explain it. This is a debut novel and I am amazed by that and hope this author writes many. Many more books because I plan on reading them all!

Beautiful southern historical fiction I highly recommend!

5 Stars

139 people found this helpful

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slow, plodding, young adult book

Even Bahni Turpin's amazing narration can't save this book. I think if it was labeled YA it would be fine, I can see a 6th-8th grader liking it and I would recommend it to a young person to read.However, as an adult who is an avid reader there is absolutely nothing original in this story. It was repetitive and boring. I can't even remember how many times she sang the same lullaby, it was enough to put me to sleep for sure. Bottom line for me is label this Young Adult and that way people will understand what they are getting into when they purchase it. Very disappointed

90 people found this helpful

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Completely Enjoyable

This story is touching and enjoyable, and challenges one's assumptions about relationships, care-taking, roles in society and the pre-Civil War south. This certainly isn't a ground-breaking book, but it is a sweet and thoughtful story.

42 people found this helpful

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Best Book Ever!

What made the experience of listening to Yellow Crocus the most enjoyable?

How the story was told, almost as if you were there.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Mattie of course!

What about Bahni Turpin’s performance did you like?

She just knows how to tell the story. I have listened to some of her other books also. Her voice is calm.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

That is for sure!! I hated leaving this book to do other chores:-( I didn't want the story to end!!!!

Any additional comments?

THIS JUST TOOK THE PLACE OF THE BEST BOOK I HAVE EVER LISTENED TO!!!

37 people found this helpful

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A Powerful Story Well Told

I loved this book! It is a compelling tale about the evils of slavery and the resilience of the human spirit. I recommend it highly.

34 people found this helpful

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Pulls at your heart strings

This was my first experience with audible. I chose the book because of cost after downloading the app. I am so very pleased with this my selection. This is not something that I normally read, but I absolutely fell in love with the story line, era, and the characters. I couldn't wait til bedtime for the last week so I could put in my earbuds and listen the more of the story. I am going to pick up a paperback version for my mother now. I know she will enjoy it just as much as I have. Wonderful story of love and real life. Although I cannot personally relate to the time and ways of life, I felt as the author did a great job of portraying how things really were. Fabulous story.

26 people found this helpful

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Great Book

What did you love best about Yellow Crocus?

Everything

What did you like best about this story?

It is so heart warming.

Which character – as performed by Bahni Turpin – was your favorite?

Mattie

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Too many to chose one

Any additional comments?

Could not put this down. Listened to it in one day.

25 people found this helpful

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Amazing!

just do it, read this book. it is an amazing and unforgettable journey. I do recommend!

19 people found this helpful

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SPOILER ALERT!

First of all, there is one thing about I liked this book - the narrator. Now for the issues I had with the story line. I thought the book was about both Lizbeth and Mattie. It was really all about Lizbeth with Mattie as a subplot. However, the biggest issue I had was with Lizbeth's character. After she realizes she was "anti- slavery," she decides to leave Virginia. Great! However, it never dawns on her to take a slave who could be related to her to Ohio to freedom. I literally rewound that part 2-3 times when she asks her mother if she can take the rocker with her - but she never asks for Emily (slave that could be related to her). Even her mother prompts the thought and says she cannot take Emily. Yet Lizbeth still doesn't get the hint and just asks for her rocker and clothes. This made me think that Lizbeth isn't really against slavery - especially if she is willing to leave behind a relative in slavery. I then reflected on other parts of the book that made me think the same. I will not bother detailing those parts, sure you can figure them out on your own. In short, I realized this book was not about slavery or even a love story. Its simply a story about a spoiled brat.

17 people found this helpful

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  • Ann D
  • 02-07-15

Fantastic, loved it!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Absolutely! A great story, perfectly narrated.

What other book might you compare Yellow Crocus to, and why?

The Help.

Any additional comments?

I found this to be a fabulous novel. I'm amazed to discover that no agent would take it on because they believed there would be no market for a story! It was published by the author herself in the end. Its a fantastic portrayal of an enslaved black woman and a privileged white woman, from when they were wet nurse and baby, then spanning over 22 years. The writing was beautiful, transporting me in time and place until I felt like I was right there with them, watching from the sidelines. All of the characters were so well drawn and I loved how the story naturally evolved into two parts - Maddie's narrative, followed by Lisbeth's. I also found the ending to be perfect.

35 people found this helpful

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  • Mrs
  • 08-20-16

A relationship transcending race, colour & creed

It is quite rare for me to read and enjoy a book that is character rather than plot driven but this one is an exception to the rule. The novel centres on the relationship between Lisbeth, eldest child of white plantation owners and Mattie, her black wet nurse, a relationship that transcends race, colour, creed and age. There are many occasions when their love and respect for each other is obvious and although helpless to change Mattie’s slave status Lisbeth neither views her nor treats her as a slave.

The fact that Mattie is able to wet nurse Lisbeth shows that she has been torn away from her own child, a boy that she only permitted to see weekly. There is a very sad episode where she struggles to breastfeed him because he hasn’t bonded with her. Despite this Mattie doesn’t resent Lisbeth for the enforced separation.

This is a beautifully written book, very easy to read and very difficult to put down. It doesn’t shy away from horrors of slavery but it also tells of the courage and strength of both the leading ladies who ultimately want to escape from an unacceptable lifestyle and enter a world where all humans are treated equally.

32 people found this helpful

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  • sue
  • 09-01-14

impulse purchase

Impulse but well worth it, lovely book slightly slow but not a problem.
The accent of young Lisbeth was a bit grating but thats my only moan.
No tears but I really enjoyed it.

15 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • sylvia
  • 06-09-17

New Author

Really enjoyed this audiobook. Easy to listen to in small parts while out walking or on longer drives.
I have not read/listened to Laila Ibrahim before but will look out for further works by her.

9 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Musical Original
  • 04-17-17

I loved this book

I listened to it in one go. Couldn't put it down. The gentle lilting accents of the narrator, the detailed description and observations of 19th century life in Virginia - for both slaves and white folks. It took me into a fascinating world that stayed with me long after the book was finished. Highly recommended.

8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • janet goudie
  • 06-13-17

Wonderful

Yellow Crocus is a moving and absorbing story, one I couldn't put down. I was transformed to a different time, a world very unfamiliar to me. I hope to discover more by the same author and narrator. Wonderful!

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Sigrin
  • 04-20-17

Gentle Deep South Slave story

If you enjoyed the Help you will like this.

It was a gentle tale of Mattie the black wet nurse who had to almost give up on her own son to breast feed and take care of the new born white baby miss Elizabeth.

The story is about their intertwined lives and the sacrifices they both made to get the life they wanted without forgetting each other.

Some of the descriptions of childbirth and breastfeeding were so passionately written it took me back with fond memories.

Definitely a female orientated book, and I really enjoyed this true story.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer reader
  • 08-07-16

yellow crocus

yellow crocus was an excellent book really enjoyed it especially on audio version worth a listen

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • tricia
  • 08-03-16

Yellow Crocus

Riveting from start to finish. A true love story spanning many years between a nurse and her charge

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amanda Cunningham
  • 07-28-16

simply lovely

a wonderful story set against some difficult times in our history. well worth a read

3 people found this helpful