Passing for White
by Tanya Landman
Publisher - Barrington Stoke
Release Date - May 15th 2017
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository

It's 1848 in the Deep South of America. Rosa is a slave but her owner is also her father and her fair skin means she can 'pass for white'. With the help of her husband Benjamin, she disguises herself as a young southern gentleman - and Benjamin's master. In this guise, the couple flee the South, explaining away their lack of literacy, avoiding those they have encountered before and holding their nerve over a thousand miles to freedom.Inspired by the amazing true story of Ellen Craft who escaped a life of slavery through a daring disguise and won freedom for herself and her husband. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 13+

My Review

Passing for White is the first book from Tanya Landman I have read and I absolutely loved it. I know Tanya by reputation of the Carnegie Medal for Buffalo Soldier as well as her upcoming novel Beyond the Wall - which I can't wait to read. 

Written in over 100 pages, Passing for White is an inspiring novel about how two slaves, who want freedom from their masters, have to runaway and 'pass for white' to do so. Rosa is a 'white' slave. Ben is a carpenters slave and the first time they met, he assumed that Rosa was the white master, the way she held herself and spoke, but she is far from that. Rosa has been a slave to this family for all her life, what she endures is quite simply awful and I hated to read what happened to her. But when she meets Ben it's like she can finally breath. As they embark on their journey to freedom we find ourselves experiences what life was like for a slave in the 1850s.

This is a beautifully raw novel and I was totally mesmerised by it. Rosa's character really struck a cord with me, I found that what she went through, the abuse of her master's husband every night that could impact on the life she could have with Ben was horrific. Both Rosa and Ben are the braviest characters I will ever know. I find myself not having read these types of books very often, awed and equally I guess educated in a way to recognise the depths that us humans had to go through in a time like that. A very dark and almost inhuman time unless you were literary, privileged and rich.

Tanya Landman's books are a force to be reckoned with and I can't wait to delve more into her prose. Next on my list has to be Beyond the Wall and then Buffalo Soldier

Rating - 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Thank you to Barrington Stoke and Nina Douglas for sending me a proof copy in exchange for an honest review - which I think I just did. 


  1. I haven't heard of this but it sounds amazing. I remember reading a short story in Gyasi's Homegoing that reminds me of the premise of this novel, so I'm definitely interested in picking this up. Thanks for putting this on my radar!!

  2. It was amazing - and I haven't read anything by her before and I think I really need to give them a go now.


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