The best historical novels on love and slavery

Sinmisola Ogunyinka Author Of I loved a slave
By Sinmisola Ogunyinka

Who am I?

I am a writer who loves to create stories across cultures and time periods. Writing a historical romance novel involves a lot of reading about the history and the times. After reading a few historical novels, I started toying with the idea of writing one. I loved a slave is my second historical romance novel and I have started work on two more. Being transported into the time period gives me a lot of excitement and I hope you enjoy the books on my list as much as I have! I have a master’s in liberal arts and an MFA in Creative Writing.

I wrote...

I loved a slave

By Sinmisola Ogunyinka,

Book cover of I loved a slave

What is my book about?

Johnny Holt Jr. comes home to Kentucky for the summer to find his father, JJ has made alliances with a notorious slave owner, Spanish-born Edmond Maguerro to turn Holt Lands into a million-dollar plantation. Johnny doesn’t involve himself until he meets Elisa, one of his father’s slaves. Smitten, Johnny is convinced Elisa belongs with him in New York, where he is a law student at a prestigious college, or any other world where the society is color-blind. And he goes all out to remove her from slavery and into that world. Set in 1800s American slave era, I loved a slave follows the story of two lovers as they make their way through circumstances beyond their control to escape their reality and live in a world best imagined.

The books I picked & why

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The Yellow Wife

By Sadeqa Johnson,

Book cover of The Yellow Wife

Why this book?

This book is a tearjerker that left me on the edge of my seat. The harrowing experiences of the protagonist, Pheby Delores Brown, are vivid and you don’t want to stop until you finish. Personally reliving Pheby’s life is one of the reasons why I enjoyed this book so much. The fear is real.


By Yaa Gyasi,

Book cover of Homegoing

Why this book?

Being originally from West Africa, this book is a journey back home for me in so many ways. A real homegoing. It is well-written and paced in a way that as I follow each character, I am reliving their story and relating to it on an emotional level I surprised myself with. 

A Most Precious Gift

By Jacqueline Freeman Wheelock,

Book cover of A Most Precious Gift

Why this book?

One of the reasons I recommend this book, besides being a book in a genre I enjoy, well-written, is the inspiration it gave from a place of peace and hope that even when everything seems contrary, love will make a way. If you are looking for a book that provides a balance between love and faith, then this is a book for you.

Celia, a Slave

By Melton A. McLaurin,

Book cover of Celia, a Slave

Why this book?

This book shares a most harrowing and detailed story of a young slave girl, who had been bought by a much older master. The ordeals she went through and her struggles with her status created in me a lot of empathy. However, questions of justice versus mercy are raised in such a way that I was left speechless by the time I was done reading.

The Sweetness of Water

By Nathan Harris,

Book cover of The Sweetness of Water

Why this book?

I have a serious weakness for forbidden love, star-crossed lovers, and impossible relationships and this book gives it in all its ramifications. The story is gripping, the characters drew me in instantly and I could feel all the emotions they had so clearly, I could feel all the goosebumps. Writing about it brings on all the emotions all over again. A must-read!

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