As the book opens, Esther and Melvin Rubens move from California to South Carolina. Their troubled marriage is not helped when Melvin is arrested for being black. Then Esther inherits a crumbling English property from a cousin she didn’t know existed, goes to England, and finds her great-grandmother Sophie’s journal.
Esther returns to South Carolina and Melvin attempts to figure out the time travel experiment in Sophie’s journal. It backfires, killing him and throwing Esther back to 1750. She must survive there, and in the process she is attacked, marries an obnoxious homosexual indigo plantation owner, falls in love with his brother, and discovers there are Nazis in her history (or future as she is in 1750). Nazis? Well, yes, but to say any more would ruin the book for you.
At first, this novel seems like it will be a classic tale of a woman popping back in time and falling in love. Indigo is so much more than that, though. The twists of the plot continued to surprise me all the way to the end (and not just the Nazis). The various settings are well researched and well described: modern Charleston, England with its stately home, 18th century Carolina, and even the Cherokee camp. The character of Esther is wonderfully complex. She is idealistic, out to fix racism, anti-Semitism, and feminism at a time when it wasn’t clear there were even two sides to those issues. She wants to start a family, be a good hostess for her husband, and be able to live openly with her lover. All those things are difficult for her in very surprising ways.
Overall, this book was one I couldn’t put down. I loved the plot twists and complex characters. I can hardly wait for the next book in the series!