THE INDIGO GIRL
HISTORICAL FICTION YOUNG ADULT
LORNA DOONE, JOHN ADAMS MINISERIES
• ELIZA LUCAS: 16-20’S, STRONG, DETERMINED, AMBITIOUS, UNCONVENTIONAL
• BEN: 20’S, CAUTIOUS, SMART, WANTS TO BE FREE, SLAVE, CHILDHOOD FRIEND OF ELIZA
• COLONEL LUCAS: 50S, AMBITIOUS, MILITARY, FARMER, SUPPORTIVE, ELIZA’S FATHER
• SARAH: 20S, HAUGHTY, PROUD, SLAVE, WORKS ON ELIZA’S PLANTATION
• QUASH: 20S, SMART, LOYAL, PROTECTIVE, SLAVE AND FRIEND OF ELIZA CHARLES
• PINCKNEY: 40S, HANDSOME, KIND, MENTOR, LAWYER, CONFIDANTE AND EVENTUAL HUSBAND OF ELIZA
Based on a true story, 16 yo Eliza Lucas is left in charge of her father's plantations in 1700's South Carolina. Unlikely allies and dangerous friendships help her find the secret to developing lucrative indigo dye, her endeavors changed the economic foundations of the south.
Target Gender: Universal,Female Leaning
Charleston, South Carolina
Based on a True Story
Status: Yes: with a Publisher
Publisher: Blackstone Publishing
Year Published: 2017
Newly arrived from Antigua, 16 year old Eliza Lucas is left in charge of her father's 3 plantations. After overhearing how much the British pay the French for Indigo dye, she embarks on a mission to produce it. Against the law, she will teach the slaves to read in return for their ancient knowledge.
After being thwarted at every turn, and almost ruined, with the help of slaves Quash and others, they are finally successful at making dye-her family no longer even owns the land beneath the crop! That success ends up saving the economy of South Carolina as the British and French declare war.
Southern United States, Forgotten Women, Women Entrepreneurs.
Hard Copy Available
Mature Audience Themes
Information not completed
Plot - Other Elements
Coming of Age,Meaningful Message
Plot - Premise
Rags to Riches
Main Character Details
Name: Eliza Lucas
Age: 16-21 over the course of the book
Key Traits: Adventurous,Badass,Outspoken,Visionary,Leader,Honorable,Educated,Heroic,Confident,Aspiring,Empathetic,Underdog,Skillful
Additional Character Details
Name: Charles Pinckney
Key Traits: Charming,Complex,Confident,Empathetic,Engaging,Faithful,Gracious,Heartthrob,Educated,Honorable,Masculine,Sophisticated
Additional Character Details
Name: Benoit Fortuné
Key Traits: Badass,Aggressive,Desperate,Complex,Heartthrob,Masculine,Secretive,Unapologetic,Lone Wolf
Additional Character Details
Name: Nicholas Cromwell
Key Traits: Aggressive,Greedy,Insecure,Villainous,Narcisstic,Blunt,Power Hungry,Manipulative,Unapologetic,Complex,Crazy,Desperate
An inspiring woman’s story that deals with gender, race and class. Opportunity for stunning visuals (the indigo process), could be feature length or 6 part mini-series. When Eliza Lucas, our main character passed away in 1792, George Washington, at his own request, was a pall bearer at her funeral. The story opens in 1739. Eliza is just sixteen when her father leaves her in charge of their family's three plantations in rural South Carolina and then proceeds to bleed the estates dry in pursuit of his military ambitions. Soon her family is in danger of losing everything. An incredible story of love, dangerous friendships, ambition, betrayal, and sacrifice. Based on actual documents, including Eliza's letters, and real names of the enslaved on this piece of land. Readers have loved hearing such an inspiring and progressive young woman existed before her time. Just as she’s on the cusp of success, the man her father sends to help, betrays her by ruining the first successful batch of indigo. And soon after, the last chance for salvation goes down with a sinking boat. On board? Eliza’s dearest childhood friend, slave, and indigo-maker,and a relationship she’s had to defend. But through her relationship with her slaves, and one in particular, Quash, they eventually find success to save the futures of everyone on the plantation (and ultimately the country!), even though the land beneath their feet is now lost. America owes Eliza a debt that can only be repaid by never forgetting her
An unconventional young woman is left in charge of her father's plantations in South Carolina. She works humanely with the slaves in her employ to learn how to grow and harvest indigo dye. She is ultimately successful and her endeavor bolsters the economy of the colonial south.
Authors Writing Style: EXCELLENT
Franchise Potential: FAIR
Accuracy of Book Profile
The book profile is accurate.
Draw of Story
The strong convictions of the young heroine is captivating from the start.
Nothing felt compelling enough to abandon the book. It is quite enjoyable and well done.
Use of Special Effects
THE STORY DOES NOT RELY ON SPECIAL EFFECTS
Primary Hook of Story
It is based on an inspirational true story.
This would probably have limited fanbase. The period and subject matter seem geared to an older more refined audience rather than the large mainstream .
This might have Awards potential. It is sweeping and emotional and their opportunities for strong actors and desirable roles for below the line talent as well.
Similar Films/TV Series
LORNA DOONE, JOHN ADAMS MINI SERIES
What’s New About the Story
It is quite a unique story about a woman ahead of her time. The originality is right where it should be.
She is tenacious, ambitious, virtuous and quite likable.
Uniqueness of Story
It is a bit of a rare gem. It is quite well written, has a compelling concept and is backed up with strong characters.
Film - Indie, Film - Studio, TV Series - Limited Run / Mini-Series
It is a very well done story and could be the perfect project for the right filmmakers. It is based on a true story, probably would appeal to a smaller sophisticated audience, but is still charming and marketable on a smaller scale.
The true story of an unconventional young woman who, left in charge of her father’s plantations, works humanely with the slaves to grow and harvest lucrative indigo dye that ends up shaping the economy of the American colonial south.
What We Liked
- It is based on a true story. It is an interesting tale that is well written and interesting. It is a small slice of American history that serves as an uplifting tribute to a remarkable young woman.
- Film: A feature adaptation of the book would be compelling given the sweeping nature the story, strength of the characters and the historical relevance.
- TV: Adapting this into a limited television series would be perfect for a high profile network that often produce good costume dramas.
- Key points: Strong female lead; Romantic; Based on true events; Uplifting story; Awards potential
In 1739, Eliza Lucas is sixteen years old. After being raised in Antigua, she and her family relocate to rural South Carolina. Eliza is unconventional and quite interested in plants and trees. She is close to her father, Colonel Lucas, who has military ambitions back in Antigua. He decides to return and leaves Eliza in charge of their family's three plantations. She is very good at working the plantations and treats the slaves with respect and kindness. Eliza continues to do her best even though her mother wants her to get married instead and leave the plantation business to her younger brother, George.
Eliza has no intention of becoming someone’s wife and continues to enjoy her work on the plantations. She often confides in Charles Pinckney, a lawyer and close neighbor. He helps advise her on her business affairs and they are quite fond of each other. She also has a good relationship with Quash and the other slaves. Quash is very loyal and protective of Eliza and her family, even saving them from becoming involved a slave revolt.
As her father continues to mortgage the family assets, Eliza thinks of ways to make money to keep the plantations afloat. She knows that England will pay lots of money for indigo dye and she decides she would like to endeavor a business of producing it. Needing help in learning the complicated process of creating the dye from the plants, Eliza begs her father to hire someone to work with her. He hires a man named Cromwell who arrives with his slave, Ben. Eliza recognizes Ben as her best friend from her childhood in Antigua. Knowing the norms of the day, Ben rebuffs a relationship with Eliza much to her disappointment.
As Ben and Quash work with Cromwell on the Indigo, Eliza teaches Quash and some of the other slaves to read which is against the rules for masters and slaves. Many obstacles plague Eliza’s effort with the indigo, including her own mother trying to sabotage her. Just as she is ready to have a triumphant beginning, Eliza arrives home to discover their inaugural batch of dye is ruined. Though it seems unlikely, Ben admits to destroying it. Ben runs away looking for his freedom. Eliza sends Quash after him.
In a boating accident, Eliza’s rice crop is lost and Ben drowns. Devastated by his death and the failure of the indigo project, Eliza decides to give up and return to Antigua with her family. However, a new crop of indigo begins to sprout up. Quash and the other slaves, Togo and Sarah, harvest and process the dye. After having it tested, Pinckney arrives at the plantation with the good news confirming Eliza’s dye is just as good if not better than the French equivalent.
Overjoyed, Eliza decides that she wants to stay in South Carolina. Pinckney is recently widowed and on her deathbed, his wife told Eliza she wanted her to marry her husband after her death. Eliza asks Pinckney to marry her. He accepts and they stay in South Carolina to grow the indigo dye business. The success of the business ultimately saves the fragile economy of the colonial south.