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.