Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
This is the story of four slave women who meet every summer at Tawawa House in Ohio. What makes this historical fiction unique is the setting – at Tawawa House white masters bring their favorite female slaves and live with them in the cottages on the property. While it is a vacation of sorts for these women, they are never able to forget their standing in society. The four unique slave/owner relationships give interesting and varied perspectives on how life was for the women in these unusual situations – favored, but still property.
There were two things I would change. First, I would have liked the book to be longer. Lately I’ve found that books need a good editor and could benefit from losing 100 or so pages. This was an exception. There were a lot of gaps I would have liked to have filled and instances where there could have been more description (and instances where there could have been a lot less). Second, I wasn’t thrilled with the audiobook. I got lost in the narrative early on because the voices weren’t consistent which made the listening experience quite confusing. I switched over to the print version over halfway through and then sailed through the book. It was an interesting story telling a part of our history I didn’t know.
This author has great potential, and for a first book it was quite good, just a little overly ambitious. I would probably read her next book.