NEW BOOK ALERT: Elbert: The Uncaged Mind by Joan Vassar #audiobook #historicalfiction @jvassar0709



ELBERT: THE UNCAGED MIND BY JOAN VASSAR Canada, 1860: While on a mission for Black, Elbert notices the lovely Anna Baker for the first time. Unable to think of much else, he leaves Canada to pursue the beauty who has captured his thoughts. Anna is unnerved by the man with the lifeless eyes, who is relentless and forward in his approach. She offers nothing of herself to the intimidating stranger, but fate has a different plan. When Anna is assaulted by slave catchers on the streets of Boston, Elbert finds his manhood tested to the limit. He steps in to help, but the consequences prove devastating, and both are sold into bondage. As Anna learns the horrors of slavery, she comes to understand there is more to the foreboding stranger than meets the eye. Elbert and Anna manage to escape - with the help of the legendary Black. But freedom is not enough to satisfy Elbert’s bruised ego. He wants the pound of flesh owed, and he will stop at nothing to collect. The Uncaged Mind is a passionate story of love and healing despite the ugly backdrop of slavery. Native New Yorker Joan Vassar is an avid storyteller who enjoys weaving a great tale. AVAILABLE ON AMAZON | AUDIBLE ADD ON GOODREADS


EXCERPT PROLOGUE Beacon Hill, Massachusetts May 1860 Elbert stood on Beacon Hill watching a house in the afternoon sun, waiting for her to go about her daily chores. Miss Anna had not spoken to him, but she had not failed to make eye contact either. She was a fine-looking woman, with light-brown skin and arresting chestnut-brown eyes. Elbert wanted to keep company with her. He waited, and with his booted foot against the fence, he took a slow draw of his cigar. As he leaned his head back and released the smoke, he heard the door to the little house open. Dropping his cigar, he snuffed it out and stood to his full height of six feet. He saw that her stride faltered upon seeing him. Still, she stepped down the two steps leading from the front of the house. And he was not deterred. “Good afternoon, Miss Anna.” Again, she did not respond, but that was fine. He assessed her; she wore a gray short-sleeved dress with a white collar and black shoes that peeked out ever so slightly from beneath her hem as she walked. Holding the gate open, he waited until she passed through, and once she was on the street with him, he fell into step behind her. Smiling to himself, he knew she was unnerved, but she managed to hide it. “Mind if I come along?” he asked, even though he was already following her. They walked for a time in silence. She stopped, looking back at him, before smiling and continuing on. It was a small victory for him, her smile; he had been following her for almost two weeks. During the two weeks, she had offered nothing at all. She was not what he had chased in women in the past, and he was sure he was going about it all wrong. He strolled a few paces behind her until they reached the dry-goods and laundry storefront. She wandered in without looking back, and he waited just off to the side of the door. When she was out of sight, he began to assess his surroundings. There were people milling about from store to store. Traffic was a steady flow of horses, wagons, and buggies coming and going. He noticed two colored men standing on the opposite side of the road, and they appeared to be talking. The bell to the dry-goods store chimed, signifying the door had opened, and he turned just as Anna stepped from the door frame. Elbert was about to move in to help her with her basket when up on the curb stepped a tall white man. Moving with purpose, the man stepped into her path and grabbed her arm, yanking her. She attempted to pull away, but he punched her on the side of the head, dazing her. Springing into action, Elbert grabbed him from behind, locking his arm about the man’s throat. When the man finally became weak, Elbert wrestled him to the ground and commenced to beating him. So focused was he on breaking the man down, he did not see two more white men step up on the curb. They tackled him from behind, and he could see Anna swinging her purse in an attempt to help him. She was screaming, “Let him go! Let him go!” The tables had turned, with him lying on his stomach in the dirt and manure of the roadway. Elbert could feel the knee of one of his captors in the middle of his back. They grabbed his neck roughly, placing the metal collar on him. A crowd had gathered, and he could see the two colored men backing the crowd off so his captors could work at getting him collared, cuffed, and shackled. Lying on his side, he could also see a large fat man slap Anna before cuffing her. The man walked her toward a wagon with a cage on the back of it and pulled her onto the bed. He chained her to the outside of the cage before ripping her dress down about her waist, exposing her breasts. Elbert watched as she attempted to cover herself, but the man slapped her again. He closed his eyes against the scene and his failure. When she was subdued, the three men began struggling with him to get him into the cage. They had Anna, so he gave in so she wouldn’t be alone. As the cage closed, he looked about for help, but the crowd had dispersed. This was a common occurrence. The wagon reached the outskirts of town, slowed, and then stopped. Elbert finally looked her in the eyes, but said nothing. She was afraid, and he reached his hand through the bars, gently squeezing hers. He saw that her eyes watered, but she did not cry. Although he appeared not to be paying attention, he was. He listened as the men argued about what to do with him. The taller man who had initiated the snatching of Anna said, “We need to kill him. The nigger can’t be broken. It’s in his eyes.” There were now four men instead of the three, and the newly arrived man disagreed. “There ain’t a nigger alive that can’t be broke. I say we sell him. We’ll get top dollar.” Elbert listened as the debate raged on; he would go with death, though he hated to leave her like this. Shit, he welcomed death, but when the debate came to a close, it was three against one in favor of selling him. Anna looked relieved as she leaned her forehead against the bars of the cage. The men stood in a circle, and the taller man who wanted him dead had the last word. “We should kill him, cut our losses, and sell the female. Mark my words, this is the wrong nigger.”


ABOUT JOAN VASSAR New York native, Joan Vassar is an avid reader and storyteller. Joan graduated from the High School of Graphic Communication Arts in NYC which heightened her interest in journalism. She has always had the in-depth ability to astutely relate, interpret and bring words to life. Joan works as a software analyst by day, but her true passion is storytelling. She enjoys writing narratives that bring to life the African American experience both past and present. Joan is the author of Introduction to Love and Self, Unfortunately Francine and The Black Series. "I love to hear from my readers. When a man tells me that my character made him feel a heightened sense of pride, or a woman shares with me that she enjoyed the romance rarely seen between African Americans in literature, I know I've done my characters justice." Joan currently resides in Georgia and is happily weaving great tales. CONNECT WITH JOAN WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

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