Monday, December 16, 2013
The Wedding Gift by Marlen Suyapa Bodden
Available in house in Hardcover
Online audio is also available from Library2Go
Synopsis from Goodreads: In 1852, when prestigious Alabama plantation owner Cornelius Allen gives his daughter Clarissa's hand in marriage, she takes with her a gift: Sarah—her slave and her half-sister. Raised by an educated mother, Clarissa is not the proper Southern belle she appears to be, with ambitions of loving whom she chooses. Sarah equally hides behind the façade of being a docile house slave as she plots to escape. Both women bring these tumultuous secrets and desires with them to their new home, igniting events that spiral into a tale beyond what you ever imagined possible.Told through the alternating viewpoints of Sarah and Theodora Allen, Cornelius' wife, Marlen Suyapa Bodden's The Wedding Gift is an intimate portrait that will leave readers breathless.
This was a great story. If you enjoyed The Kitchen House I think you will enjoy this one! Set in the time of slavery the story is told by slave Sarah and slave owner Theodora.
This was a fascinating story and made me realize something awful, so many slave owners had children with their slaves but never considered them their children, just their property to buy and sell and abuse at a whim. I just can’t understand how these men could treat their own flesh & blood this way that it is very disturbing.
There were times I thought for sure Sarah would see some very tough times because she seemed to talk about running away a lot and in front of people she shouldn’t trust. Her mother was an amazing woman who took care of her children the best way she knew how and did things she had to do to keep her children safe and close, I think the realization of that really hit her daughters when certain things happened to Belle, when Emmeline decided to try to stand up for herself and learned a hard lesson.
Then we have Theodora who came from a family that called its slaves servants and treated them much better than the family she married into, the Allen family is a much tougher bunch with not only its slaves but its women too. Theodora’s marriage isn’t a happy one no matter how hard she tries, add to that the fact that her husband is having relations with one of the house slaves, Emmeline and has fathered a child with her. But Theodora is an amazing woman and rises above the abuses her husband doles on her and everyone else and her and Emmeline actually become very close. Their daughters Clarissa and Sarah grow up together never realizing (till later) that they are sisters but these two girls grow up best friends spending all their time together including doing schoolwork, even though it is illegal for slaves to learn to read and write Theodora sees nothing wrong with this, but will she eventually pay the price for teaching Sarah to read & write?
Thoughts on the audio production, I am already a huge fan of Jenna Lamia but this was my first time hearing January LaVoy and I must say I was very impressed and will be finding more books narrated by her. The narration of this book was so perfect both narrators bring these two women to life with such ease, I was very impressed with the narration and it ranks up in the top 10 of the year.(2013)
If you haven’t guessed I truly loved this book, I thought it was a very well written story, and I enjoyed seeing things from both perspectives.
I highly recommend this book especially on audio!