Hard-to-Read Novel Explores the Emotional Nuances of Slavery

Wench was inspired by the history of a little-known resort for slaveholders and their mistresses.

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Out in paperback tomorrow, Wenchby Dolen Perkins-Valdez, takes place against the backdrop of the real-life Ohio resort, Tawawa House -- a place where many readers will be shocked to learn that Southern slaveholders took their slave mistresses for open-air "vacations." 

It is the story of four of these mistresses, or “wenches,” and the complexity of their relationships with one another, their masters and their ideas about freedom.

How would they have gotten there? And what did the resort look like? Why would a slave taken to a Northern free state not run? According to the Washington Post, Wench explores these questions and more.

The book tackles topics that are hard to talk about or even comprehend. Perkins-Valdez told the Washington Post that black and white readers alike have struggled to make sense of the story, explaining, "White women have expressed doubt that Southern wives would have stayed married to men who fathered children with slaves. Black readers can't stomach a slave woman loving a master."

Plan an extended book-club meeting to process this one before picking up your copy tomorrow. 

Read more at the Washington Post.

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