Set in the Deep South pre Gone with the Wind and the Civil War, The Wedding Gift is a compelling and powerful story of slavery, abuse and passion.
‘I do not know precisely how old I was when I realized that I was a slave, but I think that I was six, the year I began helping with cooking, cleaning, and all that we had to do in the Allen household.’
When wealthy plantation owner Cornelius Allen marries off his daughter Clarissa, he presents her with a wedding gift: a young slave woman called Sarah.
The two girls have grown up together but their lives could not have been more different. Clarissa is white and is used to a life of privilege and ease. Sarah is black and is used to a life of slavery and hard work.
Forbidden by law to leave the plantation, Sarah longs to be free – in mind and in body.
But when she decides her future lies away from Clarissa, she sets in motion a series of events that will have devastating consequences for them both.
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The Wedding Gift is an emotional, absorbing story which will stay with me.
The story is told from two points of view of both slave and Slave owner which I thought was very interesting. It was fascinating to learn more about life on the plantation from the two sides and to see how different their lives were. My heart broke for the poor slaves and the hardships they had to endure. It was incredibly emotional to see how cruelly they were treated by the plantation overseers and owners. I found myself getting very angry on their behalf and wished I could somehow help them.
The characters were great creations who I enjoyed following throughout the book. I felt completely drawn into their lives and soon found that I really cared for them. The lovely camaraderie that existed between the slaves was wonderful to read about, especially how they all looked after each others children when they were targeted by the overseers or covered for each other when they were working. It really made me warm to them and I found I had to keep reading to find out what happens to them.
Overall I really enjoyed this book and will be recommending it to others. The story was well paced and the many different parts of the story kept me reading, often far too late into the night. The story is written as a slave from the time might have spoken which took a little bit of getting used to but I think actually helped set the scene for me. The twist near the end was very unexpected but hugely satisfying and I found myself quite sad to end.
Huge thanks to Georgia from Arrow publishing for inviting me onto the blog tour and for my copy of this book.
About The Author:
MARLEN SUYAPA BODDEN is a lawyer at The Legal Aid Society in New York City, the nation’s oldest and largest law firm for the poor. She drew on her knowledge of modern and historical slavery, human trafficking, and human rights abuses to write The Wedding Gift, her first novel. Marlen is a graduate of New York University School of Law and Tufts University. In 2012, the University of Rhode Island awarded Marlen an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.