Review: Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez

January 25, 2010 blog tour, Historical Fiction 14


  • 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. Geri

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

    2. 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!

    3. Teddyree

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

    4. Kimberly

      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.

    5. Gayle

      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!