Wench: A Novel
by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
Hardcover- N/A

Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez is startling and original fiction that raises provocative questions of power and freedom, love and ...

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  "A Must Read" by sleigh (see profile) 01/29/10

  "I recommend this book!" by sdb0803 (see profile) 02/18/10

This was a wonderful book that I really enjoyed! "Wench" was one of those books that you found hard to put down, because you wanted to know more about the characters and what was to happen next with them. I recommend this book to everyone!

  "Wench: A Novel" by annarudy (see profile) 02/25/10

We thought this book was going to take a totally different direction than it did. What we learned was interesting and thought provoking- yet left much to be desired. Our club thought the book would have benefited from more character development of the slave women at the resort.

  "Wench: A novel" by Schanachie (see profile) 02/26/10

Last month we read "The Help". Reading the Wench this month was an interesting comparison of black women's lives in the mid 1850's - pre-Civil War and the 1960's and the emergence of the Civil Rights movement.

Wench is a good quick read and it is hard to put down. It was interesting to read that the Tawawa House was a real resort in Xenia, Ohio and that it attracted Southern Men and their slave mistresses. The plot is fictional but believable. It is told from the main character Lizzie’s point of view and it illuminates the unique difficulties of being a black woman during slavery. It provided a glimpse into the contrasting lives of the white wealthy Northerns and their slave owning Southern counterparts, free working Blacks and the enslaved and married white women with their husbands slave mistresses. We wish the author had developed the characters a bit more.

  "A difficult but worthwhile read...." by klubkissus (see profile) 02/28/10

Wench was a difficult book to read. Not difficult in the sense it had big words, small print, or many pages. Difficult in the sense that the content was a tough pill to swallow. Although the book is "fictional", the content is surely real - slavery. Though it is difficult to read about a shameful part of history, the reader can't help but be drawn into the lives of the characters. The women, particularly Lizzie, are all very brave. My heart is heavy with sadness when I think of how people were (and truth be told, still are) treated because of the color of their skin. I think this book should be required reading for high school students. Perhaps it will help them to see history and people through a different set of eyes.

  "Wench" by kristengara (see profile) 03/12/10

In the 1850s, a resort in Ohio became popular with southern slaveholders who brought their enslaved mistresses to stay there each summer. WENCH explores the stories of four of these slaves. The main character Lizzie is the mother of two children with her master Drayle. In this book, we watch as Lizzie changes and become more independent and influenced by the slaves she meets at this resort which is in free territory. The book examines why the slaves choose to stay or run from their masters while in Ohio. It also makes you question Lizzie's relationship with Drayle and if she "loves" him and he "loves" her. I wonder, is that possible within their dynamic and the society within which they exist? It's a fascinating book and you feel like you want to talk about it when you are done reading it. I find that different parts of the book keep popping into my head and I will call my husband to chat about my thoughts.

  "Wench" by nadiya008 (see profile) 03/12/10

A good read,Interesting ,and very deep.

  "A Powerful Book - A Must Read" by karenbj (see profile) 03/29/10

My book club read this book for our March meeting. I could not wait to read this book. Wench is a powerful story of the daily emotional conflict that four women slaves and their owners. Lizzie, Mawu, Sweet and Reenie share two summers together at Tawawa House - a summer resort in Ohio. Although the book is about these four women and their relationships with their masters, the main focus of the book is Lizzie. Towards the middle of the book, we learn about Lizzie's complicated history with Drayle. It gives insight into why she betrayed Mawu.

The author focused on Lizzie. I'm glad that the author did not portray black women as sexual vixens. Wench gives insight into the ugly history of slavery and the relationship between the white masters and black female slaves. I was impressed with the author's ability to combine soe factual historic information with fiction. Very well done.

  "Quite a gem..." by obliviona (see profile) 05/10/10

I felt this book caused you to experience the lives of women during the slave years - both black and white womens' lives. This story was tragic, hopeful, and reality all roled into one fictional gem that I will keep in my collection to re-read again.

  "A book that is hard to put down" by hitormiss (see profile) 06/17/10

  "Wench" by redrose (see profile) 06/23/10

  "Wench" by Bak8382 (see profile) 06/28/10

Every summer white southern men bring their slave mistresses to a resort in Ohio. Lizzie is one such mistress, and she is fairly content with her lot in life. Her master Drayle treats her well, teaching her how to read and moving her into his house, but she never knows when something will happen to send her and her children back to the slave quarters. In Ohio she meets other slave women like herself, but everything changes when they meet Mawu, who's determined to change their lives.

The history behind this book is fascinating, and Perkins-Valdez really brings to life the struggle these women faced because of the psychological and physical hold their masters had over them and their children. Lizzie is especially conflicted because Drayle is a much kinder master than most, and she's afraid of upsetting the balance of her life if she attempted to escape. Full of well developed characters and historical details it's an enjoyable read right up until the open ending that falls a bit flat compared to the rest of the book.

  "Life of as a Slave Mistress" by Wits-End (see profile) 07/14/10

This book was very interesting and informative. I did not realize that places like this exist during slavery. The book shows 4 different Slave mistress and how they are all treated as slaves.

  "Enlightening dramatic wonderful read" by chrystal (see profile) 07/20/10

This novel is a MUST read for everyone. The author reveals the painful pleasures that a slave endures, through some of the most well-developed and memorable characters depicted in print. This isn't a tired old story of slavery, anything but. This story is about families, friendships, love and so much more. It tells of the advantages/disadvantages and relationships the Wenches had with their masters - it tells of a idyllic resort and the summers spent there. This story enlightens the readers to a whole new world.
The author has mastered story-telling with this, her debut novel. Looking forward to more of the same from her.

  "GREAT DEBUT NOVEL" by CHAZRA_TMF (see profile) 08/14/10

Although this story was fiction it seemed too real at times. This book will swallow you hole and spit you out with a new respect and perspective of women who endured the burden and misgivings of slavery.

  "Wench" by Deneen (see profile) 09/05/10

This book was really insightfull and sad in a way. I liked it anyway.

  "Wench" by TaraRoss (see profile) 09/15/10

I liked this book. I found it an interesting topic, I was not aware how pervasive it was for slave owners to openly engage in relations with their female slaves. The book does a good job at showing the variations of the relationships of the same sort, some abusive, some wrapped in the manipulation of something akin to love. The characters are convincing and the story compelling.

  "Wench" by mahalqita (see profile) 09/15/10

  "" by smcallis80 (see profile) 09/23/10

  "Wench" by dnelson443 (see profile) 11/07/10

It was an awesome read and continued to pull you in from the beginning. It was written from a slaves point of view and gave some beautiful insight into how they were treated and what they went through, as well as their dreams to get out. I would highly recommend this book.

  "interesting topic and insightful" by jody53 (see profile) 12/04/10

  "The Wench" by dwenzel (see profile) 12/21/10

  "Wrench" by schmidt1radford (see profile) 12/22/10

hardhitting information about slavery life.

  "Wench" by cldando (see profile) 12/23/10

  "A realistic look at a sensational subject" by rosycheeks (see profile) 03/20/11

  "h enh" by thomas3 (see profile) 04/21/11

excellent !

  "Loved it!!" by FriendshipSisters (see profile) 06/02/11

I just finished this book today and had to share it with you right away. This novel is soooo good! The writing is so rich with characters and description that you feel as though you are present, watching the story unfold before you. Stop what you are doing and sit down to read this first novel by Dolen Perkins-Valdez, you will treasure every moment, turning the page.

  "Great read!" by Meresparky (see profile) 03/17/12

  "Thought it would be better...but OK read" by myburg (see profile) 03/26/12

Overall feelings from book club on this book was it was "OK". Not the best, but gave some insight into how slaves were treated as the mistresses of white slaveholders. A part of history pre-Civil War that is not often heard of.

  "Good but there are better choices" by HarrietD1 (see profile) 03/27/12

Hard to pick 3 words that sum up my experience of this book. Informative - because it provides a piece of history (that black slaves went as concubines with white masters to free state resorts) I did not know about; Interesting - in its perspective from house slaves who were also "lovers" to a degree; and Unconvincing - because some of the characters and situations/events were not believable, e.g., the dinner party. I did enjoy the read, though I have read other similar books with which I connected more and that were pulled together more cohesively, e.g., The Kitchen House, by Kathleen Grissom. My main problem with this book is that there were bits of the story that were woven in and then randomly dropped or not developed fully enough. And other areas that were powerful and could have been so much more so (e.g., the Mawu-Lisa connection). I thought the last chapters of the book were the best and wished she'd developed those themes more fully. Perhaps this was in part a failure of the editor?

  "Historic Fiction" by Katha (see profile) 03/28/12

An insightfully written historical fiction about the pains indured during a very dark period of the United States - slavery.

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