genre: historical fiction
Wench is the story of Lizzie, a slave from Tennessee. She has become her masters special companion and this "privilege" means that she gets to join him on his summer holiday at a resort in Ohio. At this resort she not only has the opportunity to make close friends with other slave women, she also has her eyes opened to life on the other side, imagining what it could be to be a free black woman. These summers at the resort change and solidify her thinking in ways that remind her that she is human and both capable of and deserving of love – even a love that makes no sense.
While obviously very harsh at times (with some graphic content), I did appreciate how this book made me feel. It is hard to say that you enjoy such a painful story but I also think it is very important for me to give my mind minutes to put myself in the shoes of these women who had literally everything stripped from them except the very knowledge in their minds and convictions in their hearts. And even those convictions were sometimes at the mercy of the harsh hand of the Masters and slave catchers, fear can truly paralyze you. The writing was solid and the dialects were consistent throughout the text. My big complaint is that on several occasions I had trouble keeping the chronology straight in my head from section to section, I really needed better transitions to keep my head in the game. Overall though, I think this is an important book to give voice to these women whose hearts and children were divided between slave and master.