" Philida confused me. I didn't understand how Ouma Nella was the mother of Cornelis but also once a slave. Was she black? If so, that meant Cornelis was part black also, right? I never got the sense he identified in any way as a "coloured" man, but maybe I misinterpreted Ouma Nella's relationship with the family. Brink tended to romanticize the relationship between Philida and Frans in a way that, while interesting to read, was also frustrating for me as a black woman. I certainly believe the relationships between black slave women and white men was a complex one and Brink, to his credit, tried to explore some of that complexity, but it was overshadowed by the romance of it all. I was moved by Philida's quest for shoes and what having shoes meant to her in terms of her freedom. There were just too many instances where this book veered off track and I lost interest. The long religious discussions, the pages of detail about the landscapes and the items auctioned off at the Brink home, and even descriptions of Philida's cat just dragged on and on. "
— Kim, 12/28/2013