Wench is a historical novel about slaves from several plantations who meet up each summer at Tawawa House. Tawawa House is a hotel with cottages in Ohio, which is considered a free state in the 1850s when the story takes place. Lizzie is the main character and the book is broken down to stages of her life. She is a slave owned by Drayle, a master who treats her well for the most part and whom she actually cares for. When his wife is unable to give him children, Lizzie's role becomes all the more important as she becomes the mother of his children, a boy and a girl. As a mother, she wants them to be given their freedom and takes every opportunity to soften Drayle up and ask him to free them. The summers spent at Tawawa House are special to Lizzie because they are able to live there mostly like husband and wife. It's there that she meets another slave, one who has named herself Mawu and whom will change things for Lizzie and make her yearn for possibities previously unthought of. Mawu is a strong woman who has always fought her master when he tries to sleep with her. She is determined to seek freedom if it's the last thing she does. Other slave women, Reenie and Sweet who are friends of Lizzie's go through unbearable things while at Tawawa House and all try to comfort each other as best they can.
That's about all I can say without giving some of the story away. Although, Wench was difficult sometimes to read due to the subject matter, it was a beautiful story. America's past has certainly not been pretty, but Mrs. Perkins-Valdez was able to tell a small piece of it with dignity and grace. I became a part of these women's lives, immersed in the day to day grind and heartbreaks they faced. This book will remind you to be thankful for the freedom that we all have and what people had to go through to get to this point in time.
You can find me over at Fang-tastic Books talking about paranormal books, movies and happenings around the internet. I'll also be posting some ebook reviews there.
I'd love to have you guys join me there. My inaugural post went up today.
From the moment she's struck by lightening as a baby, it is clear that Mary Anning is marked for greatness. On the windswept, fossil-strewn beaches of the English coast, she learns that she has "the eye"-and finds what no one else can see. When Mary uncovers an unusual fossilized skeleton in the cliffs near her home, she sets the religious fathers on edge, the townspeople to vicious gossip, and the scientific world alight. In an arena dominated by men, however, Mary is barred from the academic community; as a young woman with unusual interests she is suspected of sinful behavior. Nature is a threat, throwing bitter, cold storms and landslips at her. And when she falls in love, it is with an impossible man.
Luckily, Mary finds an unlikely champion in prickly Elizabeth Philpot, a recent exile from London, who also loves scouring the beaches. Their relationship strikes a delicate balance between fierce loyalty, mutual appreciation, and barely suppressed envy. Ultimately, in the struggle to be recognized in the wider world, Mary and Elizabeth discover that friendship is their greatest ally.
I was searching for a reading challenge to join when I found this one, hosted by Book Chick City. It sounds like a good challenge for me as I read lots of paranormal anyway and this includes many subgenres thereof. Several buttons to choose from too, but I chose the skeleton cuz that's just the way I roll. lol
I'm going with the addicted level by reading twelve books. That shouldn't be too hard.
To start my list, I know of two off the top of my head on my TBR shelf that will fit the bill.
1. Soulless by Gail Carriger
2. The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart by Jesse Bullington
I title this one Scary because he looks like he came straight out of a horror movie with crazed mountain people who eat everybody unlucky enough to be in there territory. lol No offense Mr. Saw, please don't come after me!
There are funny captions for every picture on the site. Believe me, it's worth a few minutes of your time. We all need a few laughs every now and then.
Dolen Perkins-Valdez’s fiction and essays The Kenyon Review, African American Review, PMS: PoemMemoirStory, North Carolina Literary Review, Richard Wright Newsletter, and SLI: Studies in Literary Imagination. She is a 2009 finalist for the Robert Olen Butler Fiction Award. A graduate of Harvard and a former University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow, Dolen splits her time between Seattle and Washington, DC. She is a faculty member of the University of Puget Sound where she teaches Creative Writing. Wench is her first book of fiction. You can visit Dolen Perkins-Valdez’s website at www.dolenperkinsvaldez.com, her blog at www.dolen.blogspot.com or connect with her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/dolen.
Situated in the free state of Ohio, Tawawa House offers respite from the summer heat. A beautiful, inviting house surrounded by a dozen private cottages, the resort is favored by wealthy Southern white men who vacation there, accompanied by their enslaved mistresses.
Regular visitors Lizzie, Reenie, and Sweet have forged an enduring friendship. They look forward to their annual reunion and the opportunity it affords them to talk over the changes in their lives and their respective plantations. The subject of freedom is never spoken aloud until the red-maned, spirited Mawu arrives and voices her determination to escape. To run is to leave behind the friends and families trapped at home. For some, it also means tearing the strong emotional and psychological ties that bind them to their masters.
When a fire on the resort sets off a string of tragedies, Lizzie, Reenie, and Sweet soon learn tragic lessons, that triumph and dehumanization are inseparable and that love exists even in the cruelest circumstances as they bear witness to the end of an era.
By: Carol Finch, Elizabeth Lane & Pam Crooks
288 pages Buy from Amazon
Three heartwarming tales of love in the old west.
A Husband for Christmas by Carol Finch
Bakery proprietess, Victoria Thurston has a predicament. She's written her family that she has a husband in Lone Ridge, Texas, Marshal Logan Daniels. The thing is, she's only ever briefly spoken to him, hence the predicament when her family expects her to visit at home for the holidays with her husband in tow. She decides to proposition him to be her husband for the visit with pay of course. Her only other option is to tell her family that he was killed in the line of duty. He agrees of course, realizing quite quickly that there is definitely an attraction there. They make a date to get to know each other and end up practicing kissing as all married couples would certainly be accustomed to that and find out that it's difficult to resist each other. This is one partnership that could mean forever.
The Homecoming by Elizabeth Lane
Clay McAllister has been in prison for three years when he is released a week before Christmas. He was serving the time for defending his kid brother in a bar and brothel when a man is accidently killed by his hand. He makes his way home to his wife Elise and their five year old son Toby not knowing what to expect when he gets there. He was under the impression that his brother, Buck came home with the money from the cattle they sold to sustain the farm. All these years, he never received word from Elise, all his letters marked return to sender.
He arrives home to realize that the money never made it there and Elise hasn't heard from Buck. She harbors pain and resentment towards Clay, believing that he was in the brothel for his own wants and needs and can't seem to forgive him.
There are a lot of wrongs that need to be righted and forgiveness given for the McAllister's to be a family once again.
The Cattleman's Christmas Bride by Pam Crooks
Allethaire Gibson is a socialite from Minneapolis who flees to Montana where her father lives in search of help when her life falls down around her once again. Three years ago, she was kidnapped and held for ransom. Her life would never be the same. Rumors abound that she must have become a fallen woman while living with outlaws for that time so she works extra hard to do good for her community, primarily in the Ladies Literary Aid Society in fundraising for a new library. When those funds go missing, supposedly withdrawn by her, she leaves the city heartbroken. While on the trainride to Montana, the train is boarded by outlaws, some of which are the same responsible for her kidnapping, the outlaws take money from her luggage, more of the library funds that she didn't put in there. Mick Vasco, who happened to be one of those original outlaws who kidnapped her actually rescues her from the situation and agrees to take her to her father so that all can be explained. Can she trust him to do as he says, but most of all can she trust him with her heart?
These were engaging holiday stories, all three. I think I most enjoyed A Husband for Christmas, simply because it was the most fun to read and had several comic moments.
The Homecoming was difficult to read, due to the raw emotion of the story. I truly ached for the character's pain as if it were my own.
The Cattleman's Christmas Bride was an excellent example of something wonderful coming from something negative and painful in one's life.
An overall wonderful anthology truly worthy of your time. You are bound to get something from it.
Three naughty tales from three naughty authors. All three stories have a Claus brother in the mix, to matchmake in his own sort of way. Mr. Damon Claus is Santa's naughty, younger, much fitter brother and he sure can stir things up.
No Mistle Required by Vicki Lewis Thompson
Riley Kinnard and Hayden Manchester are childhood friends, neighbors and teenage lovers who split up many years ago due to a misunderstanding that they both continue to pay for. When they find themselves home for Christmas with a little friendly or unfriendly rivalry in the pursuit of the best Christmas light display, things get blazing. Throw in a little help from Damon Claus, holiday decorator extraordinare and some old neighbors, David and Marlena Faulkner, who are dying to get the couple back together and you have a very fun, very naughty little Christmas story.
Her Secret Santa by Jill Shalvis
Arson investigator, Ally Dauer can't forget the brief time spent with firefighter, Eddie Weston before things just seemed to fizzle out. During the course of collecting toys for needy boys and girls, she gets a few "toys" of her own, thrown in by none other than Damon Claus, novelty store owner. Eddie joins her in an investigation where fire continues to build between them and they realize that resistance is futile and they belong together.
Snug in His Bed by Rhonda Nelson
Viv Foster works hard for her money, which she's hoping will pay for a dream vacation to London over the Christmas holidays. She despises Christmas due to her father leaving at that time as a kid and regrets not getting to know a half-brother. She's working double duty when a chance encounter with a mall Santa, you guessed it, Damon Claus, who she smacks for copping a feel. Somehow, it goes to court where a judge, bearing an uncanny resemblance to that same mall Santa, sentences her to community service at a Christmas tree farm. She remembers going to that farm as a child to get trees and that there was a young fellow there who always caught her eye. Hank Bailey, owner of the farm feels the attraction but can't help feeling a bit guilty at what brought her to him, also ruining her chance at the London holiday. He asks her to design the farm a website, which is her day job, substituing that lost income. Sparks fly and Viv realizes that Christmas truly is magical.
These really were nice and naughty stories that I truly enjoyed and hated to see them end. The women were strong and independent and the men were virile and exciting. What more could you ask for the holidays?
*This book was received via my library swap program.