The Freedom Maze

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The Freedom Maze by Delia Sherman

The Freedom Maze begins in the summer of Sophie, the year-old daughter of divorced parents, has gone to live with her grandmother and aunt while her mother goes back to college and her father immerses himself in his new marriage. Sophie is transported back to and, because she looks less like a Southern Belle than most of the Caucasian girls of that time period she is mistaken for a slave.

At 13, she seems less like a child than she did before.


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Because her trip back in time was a literal 30 minutes but felt to her like months , no one is aware of this startling transformation but Sophie herself. Like Skeeter, a college graduate who feels out of place in the white-washed society of Jackson, Mississippi, Sophie is underestimated and, therefore, one of the most potent and powerful forces in the novel.

As has been said many times over, everyone loves an underdog.


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  • Cecelia Price HarperTeen. Fairchild himself and one of his slaves. As the novel unfolds, Sophie and readers learn that the masters of plantations often produced children with their slaves, children who were their property.

    Delia Sherman – The Freedom Maze

    Despite an early infraction and illness that keeps Sophie from working for several days, she eventually is given the position of lady's maid to Old Missy, Mrs. Fairchild herself, because she can read and, presumably, because she is fair skinned for a slave. When Sophie's resemblance to Miss Charlotte, the youngest, most spoiled Fairchild who could give Scarlett O'Hara a run for her money, is noted by a cousin during a family gathering, Sophie is sent to the yard to find work there.

    Her time cleaning pots in the kitchen and then working in the sugar refinery are all described in depth and in a way that made it easy to imagine. Sophie makes a few attempts to contact the creature and return to her own time period, but as time passes on the plantation she gradually forgets her old life in the future. Sherman introduces conflict into the plot - beyond the daily threat of beatings or worse that the slaves faced, despite the fact that Mrs.

    Audio Review: The Freedom Maze by Delia Sherman

    Fairchild was said to be a kind master who rarely beat her slaves - comes in the form of Mr. Beaufort Waters, a visitor at a nearby plantation who begins to court Miss Charlotte. Waters also begins to take what he chooses from the slaves at Oak River, giving Sophie's thigh a squeeze as she serves at dinner one night, causing her to drop her tray. It is soon revealed that Mr. Beau is also taking what he wants from Antigua, a slave whose family has taken in Sophie like one of their own.

    FREEDOM Instrumental song by Blondie Maze

    Antigua keeps her mouth shut, even when Sophie walks in on Mr. Beau as he is about to rape her. The danger that this puts both slaves into forces Antigua's family to plan a daring escape that will hopefully end with her freedom in the North.

    With her fair skin and Fairchild nose, Sophie finds herself taking a huge risk and posing as Miss Charlotte in an effort to keep the slave hunters off Antigua's trail. Sherman brings her story full circle and allows Sophie, after she returns to to both confront her mother and stand up for herself as well as research the history of Oak River and the surrounding plantations in an effort to find out what became of Antigua. I loved that Sherman used brilliant fantasy writers like Nesbit and Eager as her way into the time travel, wish granting aspects of the story, but I felt like she abandoned this realm of magic for the magical practices and herbal medicine of the slaves.

    I appreciated how exhausting and grueling working as a slave was for a soft-handed girl like Sophie, but I would have like to see her use her smarts along with her knowledge of future history to have a more powerful role in her own story.