Rating: 4 / 5
YELLOW WIFE by Sadeqa Johnson was an adult Once Upon a Book Club book box pick. This is another book that hadn’t been on my radar before I got it in the box!
YELLOW WIFE follows Pheby Brown. Pheby was born on a plantation in Virginia and has grown up knowing that she’ll be given her freedom on her eighteenth birthday. She envisions a future for herself with the man that she loves. Before she turns eighteen, tragedy strikes her family and she is sold away. She winds up at the Devil’s Half-Acre, a jail for slaves where they are brought in, broken and sold away. She finds herself living in the main house, the mistress to the jail’s owner, fighting to forge a life for herself even as she winds up taking part in the tragedies that occur at the jail.
I went into this book blind so I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but this was a powerful story. The writing is easy to settle into even as the tragedies on the page will break your heart. I loved Pheby and the author did a fantastic job portraying the struggles she faced. She’s stuck between worlds, having some privileges as the master’s chosen mistress which sets her apart from the other slaves, but still not belonging in his white world. Being raised under the expectation of freedom, she has learned things like reading and writing that are not allowed among the slaves and she finds her little rebellions where she can.
There were a few places where the pace got a bit slow for me in the middle, but overall this is a story which has stuck with me! I really appreciate that this subscription exposes me to books that I might not have otherwise picked up (and getting to open gifts during the reading is a highlight as well). If you are interested in checking out Once Upon a Book Club for yourself, DGREADS10 will give you 10% off your first order!