The Cost of Sugar by Cynthia McLeod
Updated: Nov 11, 2020
In 1987, Cynthia McLeod debuted the novel Hoe duur was de suiker? (The Cost of Sugar), a historical fiction book set in the colonial era of Suriname. The book was an instant hit and made Cynthia McLeod a famous novelist. Readers were intrigued by Cynthia's ability to tie together Suriname's complex history with slavery in a fictional narrative.
Hoe duur was de suiker? translates to "How expensive was the sugar?" and Cynthia made sure to give her readers a clarified answer. In the former Dutch colony of Suriname, sugar was king, and the African slaves who were beaten and tortured paid the ultimate price.
The Cost of Sugar chronicles the life of two stepsisters (Eliza and Sarith) and their relationships with their trusted slaves. Mild-mannered Eliza, who loves and cares about everyone around her, including the slaves that have nurtured her since birth. And Eliza, a spoiled, promiscuous aristocrat who lays claims everything, especially the happiness of her slave girl Mini-Mini.
McLeod also educates her readers on the political climate of the colony, along with the conflict between the Maroons (free Africans who escaped into the interior of Suriname) and the White colonist.
The Cost of Sugar caught the eye of Dutch publisher Kees de Bakker and in October 1994, he licensed and published the book in the Netherlands. Shortly thereafter, the book was published in German and English. Cynthia McLeod's success didn't just stop there. In 2013, her characters were brought to life in a major motion picture!!!
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