I have a hard time reading books that introduce 30 characters in the opening pages. Needless to say, I’m struggling with Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez mostly due to my lack of connection with said characters. I’m nearly at page 100 and I’m still taking serious notes on who’s who. I hate to admit that. The summary reads, “Tawawa House is an idyllic retreat for Southern white men who vacation there every summer with their enslaved black mistresses…” and the teaser below provides hope that something great can still happen with this book before I decide to let it collect dust on my nightstand.

Tip visited the women in the slave quarters even before his wife was dead. After the mistress was gone, his visits increased. He barely waited for the young girls to stain their pallets red before he took them. Mawu held him off longer than most. The first time he came for her, she bit him and kicked him in the leg. The second time, she dropped an iron on his foot that broke a toe. After that, he brought her down to the barn for her first beating. When he told her to strip her clothes, she refused. Even though he was smaller than the average man, she was even smaller. He took her afterwards while she was still sick in bed healing from the lashes. The more Mawu fought, the more determined he became to have her over and over again. He had her strapped to the bed on more than one occasion.

So, ignore these preliminary thoughts. I’m still reading, y’all.