An ambitious and startling debut novel that follows the lives of four women at a resort popular among slaveholders who bring their enslaved mistresses.
wench \'wench\ n. from Middle English "wenchel," 1 a: a girl, maid, young woman; a female child.
Tawawa House in many respects is like any other American resort before the Civil War. Situated in Ohio, this idyllic retreat is particularly nice in the summer when the Southern humidity is too much to bear. The main building, with its luxurious finishes, is loftier than the white cottages that flank it, but then again, the smaller structures are better positioned to catch any breeze that may come off the pond. And they provide more privacy, which best suits the needs of the Southern white men who vacation there every summer with their black, enslaved mistresses. It's their open secret.
Lizzie, Reenie, and Sweet are regulars at Tawawa House. They have become friends over the years as they reunite and share developments in their own lives and on their respective plantations. They don't bother too much with questions of freedom, though the resort is situated in free territory, but when truth-telling Mawu comes to the resort and starts talking of running away, things change.
To run is to leave behind everything these women value most - friends and families - still down South, and for some it also means escaping from the emotional and psychological bonds that bind them to their masters. When a fire on the resort sets off a string of tragedies, the women of Tawawa House soon learn that triumph and dehumanization are inseparable and that love exists even in the most inhuman, brutal of circumstances, all while they are bearing witness to the end of an era.
An engaging and wholly original novel, Wench explores, with an unflinching eye, the moral complexities of slavery.
©2010 Dolen Perkins-Valdez (P)2010 HarperCollins Publishers
Well read - gave an authenticity to the book with the choice of reader.
Perked my interest - wanted to know what would happen next.
Being able to portray the character so well.
Great book! Would recommend it!
I love the period and the view point of the slaves
Kitchen house - similar time period
Wasn't as compelling as some, but still an excellent read
At the very top of the list.
ANY KNOWN BLOOD. The story takes you from girlhood to womanhood and has you inside the minds and hearts of the people and their circumstances as they are controlled seemly by the universe. Yet in their despair they know who they are and what is right, true and decent despite desperate circumstances.
Warmth and intimacy
Hmmm… I would have to think about that
Tell us about yourself!
I like books about cultures I don't know and this was one. A vacation spot for slave owners and their concubines was new to me, especially in Ohio. The author did a good job of covering a wide spectrum of thuoght by both slaves and owners and the ending was very realistic and beliveable.
This book about men taking their slaves to a summer resort should say so in the description.
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