Century is a love story and a tale of resistance. The story is a quest for liberty among Blacks, Native Americans and Whites. Enslaved Blacks, both newly-captured and in bondage for generations, defy their masters by loving whomever they please. Whites and Blacks challenge societal mores by falling in love even though it is forbidden. The narrative centers around a woman, a runaway slave trained in the use of herbal medicine and African religion, who joins a group of Native Americans as they struggle against being pushed off their land. Resistance is the response of the Native Americans to those who mean to annihilate them. The novel takes place during the 1700s in West Africa, across eastern North America and in the British West Indies.
Yvonne Hilton has a long-standing love of history and a deep curiosity about slavery in Colonial America, a subject not commonly dealt with. She began researching slavery in New York with information from an urban anthropologist about the actual day-to-day lives of enslaved people during the 1600s and 1700s. And a long association with South Carolina's Gullah tradition demanded that she include that slave culture as well. She also became fascinated by the histories of Long Island Native Americans, particularly their associations with runaways from the city of New York and the surrounding farms.
When this novel began to unfold in her mind, the lives of enslaved people, as revealed by the excavations of the graves at the African Burial Ground motivated many of the events in the story. Research conducted in the Mashantucket Pequot Museum in Connecticut, as well as the Museum of the American Indian in Manhattan provided material on the lives and languages of Eastern Native American groups in the 17th and 18th centuries.
This is her debut novel.