Review: Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez


  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Amistad (January 5, 2010)
  • ISBN-10: 006170654X
  • Source: Author
  • Wenchis set in the mid-19th century South.  It chronicles the tales of four slave women: Lizzy, Reenie, Sweet and Mawu, who all spend their summers with their masters Tawana house,  a free-state resort in Ohio. All four women share the same fate, a life of physical and sexual abuse at the hands of their masters. Favorites of their masters, they each still crave the freedom from slavery.

    The author does an outstanding job of bringing each character to life for the reader.  We feel their pain, their anguish, and very rarely, their happiness. Never before have I felt so drawn to the characters.  While there are parts that are brutal in their detail, these descriptions are completely necessary in order to understand the lives of each of the slave women.  I felt a whirlwind of emotions: fury, sadness, and grief. While I have read dozens of books chronicling slave life, never before have I read anything so real and so eloquently portrayed.

    I highly recommend this book, especially to book clubs. There are so many topics to be discussed, the relationships between slave mistresses and their masters is just one of many.  I guarantee that you will fall in love with the writing and the characters, and by the end of the book, you will be craving  more.


    14 Responses to Review: Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez

    1. Sounds like a great read Jenn. Your review did it for the tbr shelf and on to the now reading…for sure!

    2. I’ll have to add this to my “To-Read” list. Thanks Jenn!

    3. I think this sounds like an intriguing book–thanks for the review!

    4. Lu
      Twitter: lulu_bella

      I can’t remember how I first heard about Wench (I think it was around the time of the Publisher’s Weekly cover fiasco) and I have wanted to read it ever since. Your review makes me want to read it right now, though!

    5. Okay, I definitely need to read this. Thanks for the review!

    6. Oh I just can’t wait to read this one! Thanks for the review Jenn.

    7. I had a feeling this book would be good! I’ll have to add it to my wish list!

    8. :) I really liked this book too. The depth of the characters was really remarkable.

    9. MUST READ SOON! I love the cover and how the book offers an original perspective about slavery. Thanks for this review, I’m so eager to read it :)

    10. Thanks for the faboulous review, this is the 2nd one I’ve seen in as many days. I can’t wait to read it.

    11. You review reminds me a bit of “The Help,” which I loved. Although “The Help” is about a century later, it also has truly lovable characters and a great story of the struggles of discrimination and racism. I will have to check out “Wench” – sounds interesting.

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    13. I can’t wait to read this one Jenn. Thanks for the review.

    14. I have read a lot of reviews of this today (catching up on my Reader) and this book sounds like a winner. Thanks for your review – I am adding it to the list!