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Wench : a novel
Dolen Perkins-Valdez
Adult Fiction PERKINS

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From Publishers' Weekly:

In her debut, Perkins-Valdez eloquently plunges into a dark period of American history, chronicling the lives of four slave women-Lizzie, Reenie, Sweet and Mawu-who are their masters' mistresses. The women meet when their owners vacation at the same summer resort in Ohio. There, they see free blacks for the first time and hear rumors of abolition, sparking their own desires to be free. For everyone but Lizzie, that is, who believes she is really in love with her master, and he with her. An extended flashback in the middle of the novel delves into Lizzie's life and vividly explores the complicated psychological dynamic between master and slave. Jumping back to the final summer in Ohio, the women all have a decision to make-will they run? Heart-wrenching, intriguing, original and suspenseful, this novel showcases Perkins-Valdez's ability to bring the unfortunate past to life. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

In this memorable first novel by Memphis-born Perkins-Valdez (English, Mary Washington Coll.), four friends meet each summer at a resort in Ohio but can share only snatches of time. Lizzie, Reenie, Sweet, and Mawu are black slaves brought to the resort each year by their vacationing Southern masters as personal servants and sexual companions. Their presence discomfits the Northern whites and black servants in the free state of Ohio, but the real angst lies within each woman's struggles: Mawu is determined to escape her sadistic master; Lizzie admires Mawu's independent spirit but concentrates her efforts on wheedling her master into granting freedom to her own children. Verdict Readers of historical fiction centering on Southern women's stories like Lalita Tademy's Cane River or Lee Smith's On Agate Hill will be moved by the skillful portrayal of Lizzie's precarious situation and the tragic stories of her fellow slaves.-Laurie A. Cavanaugh, Brockton P.L., MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Lizzie
African American
Her master's mistress; in love with her master.

African American
Her master's mistress; hears rumors of abolition of slavery; longs to be free.

African American
Her master's mistress; hears rumors of abolition of slavery; longs to be free.

African American
Her master's mistress; hears rumors of abolition of slavery; longs to be free.

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