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Wench: A Novel | [Dolen Perkins-Valdez]

Wench: A Novel

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 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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (234 )
5 star
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3 star
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3.9 (143 )
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4.2 (139 )
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  •  
    Kirsten WASILLA, AK, United States 09-10-12
    Kirsten WASILLA, AK, United States 09-10-12 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Great Read, Kept My Attention!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Wench to be better than the print version?

    Well read - gave an authenticity to the book with the choice of reader.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Perked my interest - wanted to know what would happen next.


    What about Quincy Tyler Bernstine’s performance did you like?

    Being able to portray the character so well.


    Any additional comments?

    Great book! Would recommend it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Priscilla Pembroke Pines, FL, United States 07-03-12
    Priscilla Pembroke Pines, FL, United States 07-03-12 Member Since 2001
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
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    Story
    "Had me hooked at once"

    Very enjoyable book that never lagged. You will not be bored if you like this genre.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura Durand, WI, United States 04-24-12
    Laura Durand, WI, United States 04-24-12 Member Since 2011

    lolagranola91

    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    45
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    "Good historical slavery read"
    What did you love best about Wench?

    I love the period and the view point of the slaves


    What other book might you compare Wench to and why?

    Kitchen house - similar time period


    Any additional comments?

    Wasn't as compelling as some, but still an excellent read

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cynthia Englewood, CO, United States 11-01-11
    Cynthia Englewood, CO, United States 11-01-11 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    4
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    "Thrilling, heartbreaking and raw with emotion"
    Where does Wench rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    At the very top of the list.


    What other book might you compare Wench to and why?

    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.


    What does Quincy Tyler Bernstine bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Warmth and intimacy


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Hmmm… I would have to think about that


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lyn LADY LAKE, FL, United States 06-23-11
    Lyn LADY LAKE, FL, United States 06-23-11 Member Since 2007

    Tell us about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "New thoughts"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brett HARTLAND, WISCONSIN, United States 02-09-11
    Brett HARTLAND, WISCONSIN, United States 02-09-11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    "An enjoyable read"

    Well developed characters and dialogue that was enjoyable. A relaxing read and interesting look at history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia Hughesville, MD, United States 02-04-12
    Patricia Hughesville, MD, United States 02-04-12 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Did not finish"
    Any additional comments?

    This book about men taking their slaves to a summer resort should say so in the description.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
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