Book Review: Wench


Dolen Perkins-Valdez


320 pages

Lizzie is a slave involved in a romantic relationship with her master Drayle, with whom she has two children.  Lizzie loves Drayle and clings to the idea of having a companion, even if the situation is not ideal.  Every summer, Lizzie and Drayle travel to a resort in Ohio where white masters customarily take their black slaves.  Lizzie is spending her third summer there, and has formed a strong bond with two other slaves there, Sweet and Reenie.  Their group is joined by a fourth slave, Mawu, who is much more restless than the other women and is constantly planning a way out of slavery.

Wench was much different than what I expected. I was so interested in the idea of this resort that was visited by masters and their slave mistresses, but the resort wasn’t a focus of the book at all, much to my disappointment.  I wanted to hear all about the hotel; what it was like, who was there, what the history of the place was, etc.  Instead it was just a hazy backdrop.  Wench was still a good story in its own right though. The four women were all very different and they each represented a different reaction to a situation that was all too common in the south in the 19th century.  All four women viewed their relationship with their masters in a different light.  All four women had different priorities when it came to their lives, whether those priorities be freedom, their love for their children, or something else.

I had one otherslight problem with Wench, which was that it seemed a little sub par as far as writing goes. The book just seemed amateur and not as polished as I would have liked.  Because of that, I was hesitant at first and it took me longer to submerge myself in the story than it otherwise would have.  I think that the subject matter gave the author a little leeway in the sense that the story alone was enough to keep my attention but I would be a little hesitant to read more by her.

This book will be up for discussion with my book club at the end of the month.  I think it will elicit a great discussion, so I look forward to hearing what my fellow book clubbers have to say.

Other Reviews:

Book Chatter

Book Journey

The Girl from the Ghetto

S Krishna’s Books

Lesley’s Book Nook

Take Me Away

Lit and Life

I read this book on my mom’s nook.