Alexandra de Gambia has lived a dual life on Heaven Hill plantation. Her mother is concerned about social appearances and keeping up with the white world that she desperately wants to stay a part of. Her father lives a traditional farming life among other free blacks on Heaven Hill's grounds providing a healthy profit for his family. However, many people are not happy about the de Gambia's household, they believe that a black family should not hold land and will do anything in order to push them off their land. When it finally happens, Alexandra's father is prepared to protect her and her brother, Jimmy as the heirs to Heaven Hill. Things quickly turn sour as Jimmy and Alexandra are captured. Alexandra is sold to a master and hidden away in a tower. The tower is filled with the music of the master's son who dreams of being a composer. Alexandra commits the score to memory and impresses the master's son, Peter with her knowledge and talent.
Set in the early 1800's before the Underground Railroad, Once in a Blood Moon presents an intriguing historical fiction about the very unique situation of Alexandra de Gambia. Alexandra's family are black land owners and slaveholders in South Carolina that descended from a group of slaves that joined with the indigenous Cofitachiqui people who rebelled and freed themselves. Alexandra's character was caught between two worlds, but only wants to do what is right for her family. I was fascinated by the very different lives that her mother and father led as well as her willingness to please both. While Alexandra might not be a real person, the story of her ancestors is true and was amazing to learn about. I was equally absorbed in the fact that there were freemen that were slave owners as well. Alexandra's story quickly becomes perilous and absorbing as everything falls out from under her and her life changes in an instant. I was captivated by Alexandra's journey as a captured slave. I knew of the dangers, but still found it hard to read at many points. Alexandra's friend, the indentured servant, John Fowler also captured my attention and I was pleasantly surprised to see that John Fowler was a real person and an ancestor of the author. With an amazing ending, Once in a Blood Moon is an amazing story of an even more amazing group of people.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.