Sugar Money by Jane Harris

Jane Harris’s novels often focus on the disenfranchised: a maid in The Observations, a woman reduced by spinsterhood in the Victorian era in Gillespie and I, and now, a young slave in this third novel. Disenfranchised they may be, but her protagonists don’t lack agency. The narrator of Sugar Money is Lucien, a slave who is barely in his teens and whose voice is startlingly optimistic. In Martinique in 1765, Lucien and his older brother, Emile, are tasked by their French master with returning to Grenada — where they once lived — and smuggling back 42 slaves who are living under the rule of English invaders at a hospital plantation in Fort Royal.