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Publisher's Summary

"A fully immersive, intricately crafted story inspired by the pages of history. In Pheby, Sadeqa Johnson has created a woman whose struggle to survive and to protect the ones she loves will have readers turning the pages as fast as their fingers can fly. Simply enthralling." (Lisa Wingate, number one New York Times best-selling author of Before We Were Yours)

Called "wholly engrossing" by New York Times best-selling author Kathleen Grissom, this harrowing story follows an enslaved woman forced to barter love and freedom while living in the most infamous slave jail in Virginia.

Born on a plantation in Charles City, Virginia, Pheby Delores Brown has lived a relatively sheltered life. Shielded by her mother’s position as the estate’s medicine woman and cherished by the Master’s sister, she is set apart from the others on the plantation, belonging to neither world.

She’d been promised freedom on her 18th birthday, but instead of the idyllic life she imagined with her true love, Essex Henry, Pheby is forced to leave the only home she has ever known. She unexpectedly finds herself thrust into the bowels of slavery at the infamous Devil’s Half Acre, a jail in Richmond, Virginia, where the enslaved are broken, tortured, and sold every day. There, Pheby is exposed not just to her Jailer’s cruelty but also to his contradictions. To survive, Pheby will have to outwit him, and she soon faces the ultimate sacrifice.

©2021 Sadeqa Johnson. All rights reserved. (P)2021 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

What listeners say about The Yellow Wife

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
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An excellent book!!! Must read!!!

I loved every bit of this story and the adventure. I cried, smiled, laughed and celebrated throughout this entire book. I feel in love with with many of the characters and despised a few. I couldn’t put it down for a second. I need a part two :)

20 people found this helpful

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A Real page turner

A compelling story about the cruelties of slavery. Told in the voice of “the yellow wife”, a mulatto concubine of a vicious slave trader, it tells intimate stories of the lives of field hands, house slaves, stable hands, and the masters they served. Primarily though, it chronicles the life of “the yellow wife” from childhood through maturity with such passion that one’s empathy for her travails is heart wrenching. Although this is a novel, it is based on the history of a notorious slave trader in Richmond, Va.

16 people found this helpful

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You will get trapped in the story.

This may be the most powerful story I've ever heard. There parts where I held my breath waiting to hear what happened next. It's sad and bitter sweet but it's a story I felt like I just had to hear.

13 people found this helpful

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A hard but Important Listen

A beautiful, if heartbreaking, story. This is such an important book as it goes a long way toward dispelling the Myths we have been fed about the kind-hearted slave owners of the American South. This really is historical fiction at its best. Both the author and narrator are incredibly talented.

13 people found this helpful

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Our history...lest we forget!

This was a 4⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ read for me...it evokes a visceral response in the horror of slavery and the shear determination to survive the miseries of circumstances...very reminiscent of 12 Years a Slave...you have no voice, no humanity, you are nothing more than furniture to be sold...based on a true story of the Lumpkin Jail in Richmond Virginia.

9 people found this helpful

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Amazing

This book was exceptional. The story was simply heartbreaking at times but you had to keep reading. It kept me on the edge of my seat and I couldn't put it down. I went to bed thinking about it after reading the first half and the next night I had to finish the rest. It was absolutely an amazing and emotional story.

7 people found this helpful

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Excellent❤🍷❤🍷🤓💞

All I can say is this book is goooood😁😁. I have always enjoyed books like this one. I felt like like Pheobe could have stepped in with the relationship between the Jailer and her son Morgan. I suppose back in that time she had to survive at any cost. I really liked the end. Overall the book was truly excellent. I truly recommend this book. 💘🍷🤓💞 please write more books like this one. 😊

6 people found this helpful

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Interesting Perspective

The perspective of a mixed race individual telling the story of slavery was one I hadn’t Imagined. There were few if any stories written from the late sixties or seventies history books (while I was in school) from the product of slave/master unions.

4 people found this helpful

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Wow!

Wow! The Yellow Wife is quite a ride! From a privileged slave (as if that were even possible) to the mistress of the jail, the life of Phebe is equal parts love story and horror story. Johnson captures both the tenderness of a mother who fears for her children and the resolve of that same woman who does everything possible to protect them from their jailer father. At the same time, Johnson writes graphically and realistically about the punishments the slaves endured and the real outcomes (death, brain damage) of those atrocities. Where so many slave histories have been written about the plantations, the setting in the Napier Jail was different and illuminating.

I didn't realize until the writer's notes that the book was based on the real story of a slave named Mary who was married to a white jailer. Johnson's question about whether the marriage held any love or merely survival is a good one. In Rubin, the jailer character of The Yellow Wife, there is no question there could be only survival.

Johnson's writing is good and she creates a narrative that moves increasingly quickly as the story unfolds, leaving the reader in rapt anticipation of what will come next. The only reason I didn't read it within about a week is that I listened on audio and have less time to do that. Even so, it was well-read and the narrator really brought Phebe alive.

3 people found this helpful

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Loved this !!

I really loved this story! Please write more like this! I finished in two days.

3 people found this helpful