Slave mistresses Lizzie, Reenie and Sweet travel to a resort in Ohio each year with their white masters, until Mawu shows up and encourages the three others to escape, forcing them to choose between freedom and leaving their friends and families--and the emotional and psychological ties that bind them to their masters. A first novel. 25,000 first printing.
Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez is startling and original fiction that raises provocative questions of power and freedom, love and dependence. An enchanting and unforgettable novel based on little-known fact, Wench combines the narrative allure of Cane River by Lalita Tademy and the moral complexities of Edward P. Jones’s The Known World as it tells the story of four black enslaved women in the years preceding the Civil War. A stunning debut novel, Wench marks author Perkins-Valdez—previously a finalist for the 2009 Robert Olen Butler Short Fiction Prize—as a writer destined for greatness.
Slave mistresses Lizzie, Reenie, and Sweet travel to a resort in Ohio each year with their white masters, until Mawu shows up and encourages them to escape, forcing them to choose between freedom and leaving their friends and families.
Tawawa House in many respects is like any other American resort before the Civil War. Situated in Ohio, this idyllic retreat is particularly nice in the summer when the Southern humidity is too much to bear. The main building, with its luxurious finishes, is loftier than the white cottages that flank it, but then again, the smaller structures are better positioned to catch any breeze that may come off the pond. And they provide more privacy, which best suits the needs of the Southern white men who vacation there every summer with their black, enslaved mistresses. It's their open secret. Lizzie, Reenie, and Sweet are regulars at Tawawa House. They have become friends over the years as they reunite and share developments in their own lives and on their respective plantations. They don't bother too much with questions of freedom, though the resort is situated in free territory--but when truth-telling Mawu comes to the resort and starts talking of running away, things change.--From publisher description.
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