This well-written historical novel looks at the lives of four slave women accompanying their masters on a summer holiday to free Ohio. The novel focuses on the women, the relationships they form, and the way they deal with the possibility of escaping to freedom. I was drawn into the stories of the women, though would have liked more attention paid to the backstories of characters other than Lizzie. I do believe the author did an excellent job getting into the mindset of these characters, trying to show the conflicts between love, loyalty, and true freedom.
Dolen Perkins-Valdez makes a formidable debut in the tale of four women poised on the edge of slavery and freedom in Wench. Based on meticulous research, the author presents Tawawa House, which has oral history as a resort where southern slave owners brought their families during the summer months to Ohio. Using artistic license, Perkins-Valdez imagines the slave masters bringing their slave mistresses where they could openly be with them. Lizzie believes what she and Drayle, … more
When I first started WENCH, it was like trying to read a book in a foreign language. Yes, there was slave dialect used, but that isn't what I'm talking about (the dialect did not make it difficult to read as some books set in that era do). What I mean is that while I read each scene I had to work to actively process what I was reading -- to frame it so that I could understand it. WENCH is artfully told, beginning in the summer … more
For several years now Lizzie has visited Tawawa House with Drayle in the summer. Tawawa House is like most resorts with its idyllic setting and Southern hospitality. But what is especially ideal at Tawawa are its quaint cabins that surround the property providing the isolation and privacy needed for the Southern gentlemen who vacation with their black enslaved mistresses. Lizzie, Reenie and Sweet know that as long as they are their masters favorite, they will meet up in the … more