Are you still enjoying the last vestiges of winter? Or is it time for some of those summer reads yet? A book that grabs you and won't let go? Something that doesn't require huge concentration and does some of the work for you? Wench, for me, felt like a summer read in that sense.
That is not to say that the subject matter is light and fluffy, for it is anything but. In this book we peek into the lives of four slave women who are their masters' mistresses in the mid-1850s. Their experiences--thoughts, feelings, hopes--are all vastly different from each other, but they are united by their shared sense of injustice and the complexity of their situations.
It wasn't so much that individual portions of the book were emotionally difficult to digest (although there were a couple of parts that were somewhat rough) but rather the fact that they kept happening and kept happening. Which I suppose is one of the points the author was trying to make. Some slave owners were kind, and some slaves really weren't mistreated horribly, but regardless of the degree of horror in circumstance, one of the really horrid things about slavery is that it is ongoing. Forever. With no real hope in sight.
Considering the heavy subject matter, Wench still managed to feel like a light read to me. I was reading to find out what was going to happen, rather than to stop and ponder the situation...which is interesting because there were definitely enough things to stop and consider. The story really seemed to flow until it ended quite abruptly, with the last couple of paragraphs becoming all poetic. I don't think it was a book that absolutely hinged on the ending, though, so the last page was forgivable. The fact that it was inspired by an actual resort made it all the more interesting. While not necessarily a favorite, it was an above average read.
Author: Dolen Perkins-Valdez
Published: 2011 Harper Collins (orig. 2009)
My Rating: 3.5 stars