Book Review: Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdes

January 26, 2011

I got this book for free as part of the TLC Book Tour promotion.
The publisher has kindly made available to one (1) copy to be given out – Enter at the end of the post.


My rating for Wench – 4

About:
“Wench” by Dolen Perkins-Valdes (Website | Twitter) if a fictional story which takes place examines the relationship between white masters and their concubines slaves. The story mostly takes place in the early 1850s at an Ohio vacation resort called Tawawa House (now Old Wilberforce University) .

Get a discount on “Wench” through the ManOfLaBook affiliate account on:
Amazon |Book Depository US | Book Depository UK

Thoughts:
“Wench” by Dolen Perkins-Valdes centers around, and told by, a house slave named Lizzie who is the mistress of her owner Nathan Drayle. Nathan is a poor man who married to Francesca who is heiress to a rich Southern family.

The book is an easy read but artfully told and well written story. The narrative is clean and sometime even lyrical.  The characters are multi-dimensional, vivid and fully realized; surprisingly many of the minor characters are well developed as well. Perkins-Valdes made a courageous decision; she started out the book with her protagonist making an unpopular choice which frankly made her unlikeable almost immediately. Later in the novel the author focuses on how Lizzie and Nathan’s relationship began and that’s when we start understand our protagonist better.

Through the supporting cast, Perkins-Valdes shows other aspects of master and slave/mistresses relationships.  However no matter in which relationship the women are in, the author did a fantastic job of capturing the indignity of slavery. Not only are you your master’s property but everyone else see fit to do whatever they want to you  as well, often with little or no consequences.  Together with the physical struggle, the emotional toll taken on the women is enormous. Not only are the women slaves, but being women they have even less rights even within the slave community. The only thing the women have is their ability to love themselves.

Synopsis:
In the early 1850s Nathan Drayle brings his slave/mistress Lizzie to Tawawa House, a real (although no longer in existence) resort in which while Southern males did bring their black concubines for a “working vacation”. This way the males could relax with their mistresses without those pesty Southern wives being around.  Since Nathan brings Lizzie to Tawawa House annually, she develops a relationship with the other slaves/mistress Reenie, Sweet and Mawu.

Get a discount on “Wench” through the ManOfLaBook affiliate account on:
Amazon |Book Depository US | Book Depository UK

Rules:

  • Contest is for one (1) new copy of “Wench”.
  • There will be ONE (1) WINNER
  • Must be a US / Canada mailing Address
  • Ends Tuesday February 1, 2011
  • Winners will be chosen using Random.org
  • Winners will have 24 hours after my initial contact to write back their mailing address, otherwise alternate winners will be picked

  • Congratulations: taffy.### (full name as email).

Dolen’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS

Tuesday, January 25th: Lit and Life
Wednesday, January 26th: Man of La Book
Thursday, January 27th: Take Me Away
Monday, January 31st: Jo-Jo Loves to Read!
Wednesday, February 2nd: Bibliophiliac
Friday, February 4th: Rundpinne
Tuesday, February 8th: red headed book child
Thursday, February 10th: Chefdruck Musings
Monday, February 14th: In the Next Room
Tuesday, February 15th: Raging Bibliomania
Wednesday, February 16th: Debbie’s Book Bag
Thursday, February 17th: Peeking Between the Pages

Zohar – Man of la Book

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BOOK BLOGGERS – Have you read “Wench”? If so link up your review below

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10 Comments

  • Sophia January 26, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    I am definitely interested in this book as it sounds intriguing. Count me in.

  • Stephanie @ Read in a Single Sitting January 26, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    What a gorgeous-looking book–and I’m glad to hear that the content measures up, too. Definitely one to keep an eye out for. I’d love to enter for a copy, but I’m ineligible, so best of luck to the other entrants. 🙂

  • litandlife January 27, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    I don’t always like books written with this kind of structure but Perkins-Valdez really made it work.

  • Juju at Tales of Whimsy February 16, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    Great review!
    (not an entry)

  • Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours February 18, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    It’s always a bonus when an author takes the time to really develop the minor characters in the story and I’m glad to see that is the case here. I can’t wait to read this one myself!

  • Nicole Langan March 10, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    Yep, I agree – the flashbacks to the beginning of the Lizzie/Nathan relationship made the book for me. That’s where it really began to take off.

  • Sheila (Bookjourney) March 10, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    Thank you for linking me to your review. I am very pleased with this book and feel it is well worthy of running for our best book club read of 2011 – and we still have 9 months yet! 🙂

  • Julie @ Knitting and Sundries March 14, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    This one is definitely on my to-buy list! Thanks for the review!

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