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The student news site of Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas


The student news site of Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas


The student news site of Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas


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WTV's Ryan Shapiro, Karina Grokhovskaya, and Sadie Johnson bring you a few last words

Every Book Has a Silver Lining: Letters From a Slave Girl

Christina Huang
In this weekly review, Every Book has a Silver Lining, staff reporter Christina Huang takes a look at books to find their silver lining.

Historical fiction can be an easy way to learn more about history, but finding the right balance between fiction and historical facts is crucial. Extensive research can be the key to creating a historically accurate story to educate readers, and this is something Mary E. Lyons, author of Letters from a Slave Girl and other historical fiction novels, knows well. 

Written as a biography of the life of a slave, Harriet Ann Jacobs, Letters from a Slave Girl was heartrending from the events of the story, of her life, to the format itself. The book is an epistolary novel, written mostly as a collection of letters addressed to those she was close to who have disappeared from her life. Only in the third part of the book does Lyons break away from the young girl’s point of view, writing about the rest of her life and including pictures of the settings and people mentioned. 

Lyons makes the comprehensiveness of her research clear with a bibliography at the end of the book. Arguably, the most important source came from Harriet Jacobs through her autobiographical work Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

The epistolary format, though uncommon and interesting, can make the story harder to follow. The letters are all arranged chronologically, but the times between Harriet’s letters were—realistically—inconsistent, which allowed readers to see more of Harriet’s life but could confuse younger readers. 

But as Harriet wrote to those she loved, an almost instant connection to her and her story can be established. It’s heartbreaking throughout the novel, but between the emotions Harriet describes, the difficult circumstances she faces, the secrets she keeps, and the sacrifices she makes for those she loves, the small moments of hope keep the reader flipping to the next page.

Details help bring all stories to life, but historical fiction novels are even more important to bring stories back to life and transport readers to the novel’s time period. Though Harriet struggles through a lack of control in most aspects of her life, she endures through her stirring story of the weight of promises, the value of family, and finding freedom. 

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About the Contributor
Christina Huang
Christina Huang, Staff Reporter/Interactive Media Editor
Christina Huang is a sophomore in her first year officially with Wingspan. She enjoys reading, writing, playing the piano and viola, and finding/creating wallpapers for her phone which she will likely never use. She’s looking forward to the opportunity to better her writing and find the good in scorned books this year through her book blog: Every Book Has a Silver Lining. Contact Christina:

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