The Roux in the Gumbo by Kim Robinson
J'Adore Publishing, 12/2006
ISBN: 978-0979126802
Rating: 5
Reviewer: H. Renay Anderson

Gizelle reflected back on her days at the Sunrise Plantation. She thought about the harsh working conditions in the fields and about the overseer who began raping her at the age of nine. Her memories took her back to the night in 1850 when she decided to run away from Sunrise. The entire time she was running, she was thinking that she would rather die in the swamp than to ever go back to that plantation. That night in the swamp she was so scared and alone. She was afraid of being caught, but soon she fell asleep on a pallet of moss. Gizelle dreamed of a beautiful woman who washed her tired body and fed her the best tasting soup she had ever eaten.

Tallulah was a French and Indian woman who was nearly five feet eleven inches tall. Even at the age of fifty she was statuesque. She had been tending to wounded slaves for years, so she didn’t mind taken care of this lost and tortured young girl. She carried Gizelle to her home from the swamp to revive her and nurse her wounds. From then on she took care of Gizelle and never took her back to the Sunrise Plantation. As far as any one knew Gizelle was Tallulah’s slave. A mentor and apprentice relationship began between the two of them. Gizelle became Tallulah’s assistant and Tallulah taught Gizelle to read and write. They lived together like mother and daughter for almost twenty years. When Tallulah died she left Gizelle her land and property. In her mid thirties Gizelle had never been with another man since being forced upon by the overseer back at the Sunrise Plantation. Now she found herself all alone again. That was until fate sent her Grayson who she met and married. He would become the father of her three children; Jimmy, Jerry, and adopted daughter Annie Thomas. Annie would become the mother to Helen Simpson.

What a wonderful tribute to a family! “The Roux in the Gumbo” is written skillfully with attention to detail! It is a realistic account of Kim Robinson’s family as told to her by her grandmother Helen Simpson before she past. This historical fiction was a pleasure to read. Chapter after chapter each family member’s story added a spicy ingredient to this tale. Kim Robinson deserves to be recognized for this heart-felt and inspirational book! As an added bit of spice Kim has included her family’s Gumbo recipe for all to enjoy!