Dolen Perkins-Valdez’s book centers on women referred to as ‘wenches,’ slaves who are also mistresses to their masters. The main character Lizzie lives a comfortable life on the plantation of a lenient master. She lives in the main home, bears the master his two only children, and can read. She spends her summers at a resort where Southern men vacation with their black mistresses. Over several summers, she develops close friendships with three other women. Set before the Civil War in the slave-free state of Ohio, this is the story of the complicated relationships between owners and slaves, mistresses and wives, slave owners and abolitionists; and the divisive struggle for freedom. I highly recommend this book, it’s a unique historical perspective that’s beautifully told.